31 Days of Aging Gracefully: Day 6 — Facing Fear

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If I am being honest — and I want to be, to use this space to speak my own truth, as I am experiencing it — I have to admit that this past year has been laced with fear. Falling flat on my face, spending time in the hospital as a result, suffering through a torn abdominal muscle and the resulting nerf-football-sized hematoma plus low blood counts and a medicare form that read, ‘life-threatening treatment’ — all of the above has brought bouts of anxiety the likes of which I’ve never experienced before.

It’s a very scary thing to face into your own frailty, to face into the possibility of life forever changed. I’ve had some small panic attacks and flashbacks that have stopped me in my tracks in the past few months, and I’ve uttered the Jesus Prayer more times than I can possibly count.

If I let it, fear could pretty much rule my life these days. That picture at the top of the page is of a sunset we enjoyed the third week in our new home. Stunning, isn’t it? Yet, still. A sunset, right? The end of the light. The end. That’s what I could choose to focus on as a result of the anxiety level rising to code red proportions. I could so easily be a real Chicken Little type, friends. SO easily.

But I don’t want to do that. Truly, I do not. Yes, I want to be increasingly realistic about the truth that my days on this planet are stretching less far out into the future than ever before. Duh. This is true for all of us, every day, right? But do we focus on that truth?

Or do we choose to enjoy the diminishing light for as long as we possibly can? Have you ever noticed that sunsets tend to be longer than sunrises? It takes a while for that light to leave the sky. And as it fades, it can be exquisitely beautiful, sending beams of color across the sky and the landscape below. I want to be a lovely sunset, don’t you?

And I want to remember that the sun also rises. Every single day. Rain or shine. There it is, sending its beams out to nourish and sustain us, shining down on us, even through the foggiest, grayest day. For every sunset, there is a sunrise.

And there will be one for me, too. 

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This picture, taken on one of my morning walks, deep into our new neighborhood, reminds me of that truth in a powerful way. As the sin was rising this day, I could see a cruise ship come into view. A big ole boat, filled with tourists, happy to be taking in the sights and enjoying the water. Reflecting on this photo helps me to breathe out the fear, to breathe in the hope, to lean into the promised future that is mine as a child of God. Don’t know if there will be a cruise ship to ferry me there, but I’m bound and determined I’m going to enjoy the ride.

Just Wondering

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Comments

  1. “Choose to enjoy the diminishing light…”—a beautiful thought. On our recent trip to the gulf we watched the sunset almost every night. Interesting the most beautiful sunsets come on cloudy days. The most beautiful one was the last night. There was a storm to the north…it was a haunting beauty with a little bit of mystery. Thank you for these thoughts today, for being vulnerable. I think you are not alone. Fear is crouching at the door, waiting to take us down. Only truth keeps him at bay…the sun will rise again tomorrow in this world or in another.

    • I love watching sunsets – maybe especially while on vacation. Love your description here – so much like life itself – ‘haunting beauty with a bit of mystery.’ Oh, yeah. Thanks for telling truth here, Dea.

  2. I find that once fear gets stirred up, it’s hard to get it to go back down.

    • I hear you, Megan. That is one reason for the Jesus prayer coupled with intentional deep breathing, in through my mouth, out through my nose. Fear is a tough, tough bugger. Yoga works for some people, too.

  3. ” I want to be a lovely sunset, don’t you?” Oh yes, me too, Diana! I often say I may have had a bad beginning to my life but by the grace of God I’m determined to have a good ending. Yes, it rests purely in His goodness and grace and my receptivity to all that happens to me. A life cannot be measured in the sum of years or occurrences alone, but in the way we live for Jesus and reveal His light and grace to others. If most of that light seems dimmer in our bodies as we age, I firmly believe it shines all the brighter in our spirits the closer we are to the grave. Thank you for another beautiful post and lovely views to soothe us too.

  4. Sunrises and sunsets . . . I love them both, and thought your photos were gorgeous, Diana!
    You have reminded us so beautifully that we can allow fear to control our lives, or choose to trust in God to provide all things in His time.
    Blessings, my friend!

  5. I love the Sunset analogy, Diana. I confess, I’ve felt more fear these past few years than ever before. I felt my sense of peace being slowly eroded by it. I’m making a conscious effort to walk, trusting the Father for each day. Thank you for being so honest, friend. It is so encouraging to know I’m not the only one. 🙂

    • Thanks for your kindness and encouragement, Linda. And yes, it has to be intentional and pretty constant, doesn’t it? VERY conscious!

  6. Gwen Acres says:

    Each day you give us a fresh sense of hope and belonging. Thank you Diana for sharing the words that draw us all together. For those of us over 70 it is especially poignant. We hold hands and hearts and feel braver as we journey. Bless you for blessing us!

  7. Beautifully written….I am reminded of what my brother always says…. ” be sure and look at the sunsets reflection behind you… how it colors the whole sky all the way around….” …