I will repeat, I'm a wuss, not brave, never have been. Afraid of pain, afraid of death, afraid of life…Afraid.
I have a friend named Barbara who is brave. One time, we were talking, I forget about what. Probably about getting lost, because I've had a life long fear of getting lost that keeps me from going a lot of places, at least alone. I remember asking Barbara, "Were you scared?" She practically guffawed as she replied, "Martha, I've never been scared in my whole life!"
"Wow," I thought, "I can't imagine. What does that feel like? I've never not been scared."
My mother was a scaredy cat too. She also had a fear of going places alone, of getting lost, and a whole host of other fears that I knew about and many more that I'll probably never figure out. I suppose fear is why she drank. Maybe alcohol gave her a little courage, or if not courage, at least numbed her fear a bit. I suspect alcohol is the most commonly used form of anesthesia in the world.
And speaking of anesthesia, I will have to be put under deep anesthesia next Thursday for my leg surgery. I was hoping for something like 'twilight sleep' but the surgeon said 'no,' it's going to have to be done under deep anesthesia.
I think of anesthesia as a 'little death,' as a temporary cessation of being. Just the thought of anesthesia scares me to death.
That expression, 'SCARED TO DEATH,' is such a revealing phrase, don't you think?
Isaac Bashevis Singer wrote that it is the fear of death that underlies every other fear man has. He tells the story of a rabbi who dies only to be told by the Angel of Death that his was a case of mistaken identity, that it actually wasn't his time to die and he's going to have to go back into the world and do a little more living.
The poor old rabbi despairs at the news. He doesn't want to go back. He's so happy at being relieved from Life's omnipresent fear of death that he doesn't want to ever have to go back and live with that fear again.
I suppose that from the point of view of Isaac Bashevis Singer, we are all, on some level, 'scared to death.' Some of us are able to acknowledge that fear and some are not, not even to ourselves.
And what was it that started me off on this particular train of thought this morning? It was something I found jotted in the margin of a book I just picked up, a note in my own handwriting, a scribbled thought from I know not when:
"The story of Lazarus is the story of resurrection, the calling forth of the organizing principle of Life, the animating Spirit which enlivens what would otherwise be no more than micro particles of elements as are present in rocks and dust."
May we all be enlivened and find resurrection, in this world or the next. Amen.
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Be Well and Good Luck,