Wednesday, April 8, 2015

A Loss of Fear

Growing up in a Russian orthodox household meant there was holy water in the cabinet, a prominent painting of the last supper in the dining room, and a somber picture of Jesus in my grandmother's bedroom that was supposed to be uplifting and calming, I'm sure, but never failed to freak me out.

I didn't realize it at the time, but it also meant that I was afraid of many things: the devil, ghosts, the dark, and almost anything you could think of that was considered "supernatural".

I also had a thing about eyes--if they weren't your basic blue or brown they also freaked me out. The thought of looking out the window at night to see a pair of glowing amber eyes was almost too much to bear, but that is another post: Click here for more about EYES

Needless to say everyone went to church on Sunday, but I protested too much after about the age of ten. My fussing got old and it wasn't worth it for the rest of the worshipers, and I got to stay home. I bounced back and forth from being a lukewarm believer, to an atheist.

Studying religions was my attempt at finding meaning, and I did learn quite a bit about Buddhism, Christianity, Taoism, and many more, but the only thing I truly gleaned from the endless studying was a bit of self-discovery.

I did not believe in the God of the bible.

Yet, like so many, the things we learn when we are young are difficult to unlearn. I realized I was still afraid to "sin", so I would occasionally attempt another shot at church or bible study. My husband is Catholic, and I always ended up in the Catholic church by default. Although the masses always left me cold, for me it was deeper. There was some kind of disconnect, and after reading the bible, really reading, not listening to what someone else said about it, I knew I not only disbelieved in the god of the bible--I did not like the premise.

I'm not going to get into the whole thing here, but when I finally let it go, when I really allowed myself to not be afraid a giant holy ghost was going to strike me dead and send me to hell for saying the lords name in vain too many times, I lost my fears.

I no longer had the feeling that a malignant force was ready to get me, I was no longer worried that the devil had me in his sights and had dark and dismal plans for my soul, and I no longer believed some bigger force in general was the ruler of my destiny. And most of all, I was no longer afraid of myself  for trying to worship a god who gave over his own son, for people he created, then destroyed, twice...but I digress.

A few nights ago I woke at 3 am. I checked the laundry downstairs and shut the lights off in the hall. I realized, ridiculously enough, that up until about a year ago this would have bothered me.

My long winded point is this--when we stop doing the things that make us afraid of ourselves, we stop being afraid of everything else, too.