It was challenging getting into my office yesterday. Yellow police taped sectioned off the side of the street leading to the doors of the building. A policeman stood guard. Legs spread wide, hands on his belt, his voice commanding as he turned away anyone who tried to duck beneath the tape to get to the doors.
A man had been stabbed one street over and made it as far as the door next to my office entrance before collapsing.
The police were busy investigating.
And here’s the thing. He was stabbed at 3am.
My critter is screaming, “Told you so! Told you so!”
My voice of reason is calm in reply. “They’re not related incidences. There’s no correlation from one to the other.”
The ‘other’ refers to my blog yesterday. About choosing to not walk around the block at 3am.
A does not equal B. Just because the stabbing took place in the middle of the dark hours, does not mean walking around the block at 3am will result in my being assaulted.
But the critter mind doesn’t care about the logic. It wants to remind me of other despicable things that happened in the dark. It wants me to remember fear. Because in the critter’s world, fear equals safety. And its job is to keep me safe.
Problem is. Fear does not induce a state of feeling free. It only creates more of what is — fear.
I know this through experience. In fact, I can see the critter at work in making relationships between what happened in the past, to how I need to stay safe in today.
Remember the time, that man, the one who tried to kill you, the one who lied and manipulated and cheated and schemed, the one who almost cost you your life. Yeah. That one. Remember… he used the dark to scare you. All the time. He called in the dark of night to tell you about the evil men who were threatening to kidnap your daughters and drug them and put them in the sex trade. He called in the middle of the night to tell you about the bullets he’d received. One for you and each of the girls. Remember?
How could I forget. Well actually, I’d like to forget but the critter mind is good at its job. it likes it when I remember my fear.
And don’t forget about the time he jumped you in the dark. Remember? You were walking back to your girlfriend’s house after Alexis 18th birthday party. It was dark. You’d dropped the girls off at the bar where they were continuing the party and driven back to Nan’s where you were staying. Remember? You parked in the visitor lot on the other side of the townhome complex. Took that shortcut through the buildings. Left the path to cut across the grass between two units. It was dark. There were a stand of fir trees and bushes on your right. You saw a shadow move up from where it had been lying in wait on the ground. He was wearing a hoodie. Dark. He jumped up and called your name. You screamed and ran.
Good. ‘Cause that’s why you don’t want to walk around the block in the dark. He could still be out there.
Dang. That’s when it hit me.
Walking in the dark isn’t about overcoming my fear of the dark. It’s all about challenging my fear of his being out there. Somewhere. It’s all about keeping my guard up.
Problem with keeping my guard up forever is, I get really, really tired. Weary. Bone weary.
It has been ten years since his arrest. Ten years.
In that time I have not intentionally seen or spoken to him. Not even once.
And still, he stalks my memory. he stirs up the muddy waters of the past, keeping me from knowing true peace.
That’s way too much power to give away. Way too much mindspace to hand over.
Time to stake my claim on the past, present and future. It’s time to not give into my critter’s need to find safety in fear. It’s time to give into my soul’s calling me to be free. To be released from fear.
Yesterday, a man was stabbed at 3am. He survived.
In his survival I am given the gift of remembering to look beyond the obvious. To see into and through the evidence to the root of what was really going on. In the case of the man who was stabbed, the evidence is pretty over-whelming that his assault was related to what he was doing on the street at 3am and while the circumstances of what he was doing may have led to his being stabbed, there is no excuse for violence. No one deserves to be assaulted at any time of the day or night.
I have a fear of walking around the block at 3am. There’s nothing wrong with that as long as I am conscious of the underlying current of my fear. As long as I acknowledge that my fear isn’t about what’s on the street. It’s all about who my mind is telling me ‘might be’ on the street.
It isn’t my fear of walking around the block at 3am that is causing my angst. it isn’t even the remembering of those dark days and nights of that relationship that almost killed me that is stirring up my unease. What’s really the problem is my fear of ‘what might be’ masquerading as my fear of the dark.
There’s no proof he is anywhere even close to where I am. No proof at all. And still my critter’s mind would have me play safe, just in case.
No sense wasting a great life on what might be. there’s no place for playing small in the light, nor the dark.
It’s time to let go of my fear of who might be out there, and face myself in the mirror of my soul and acknowledge, “I am here!”
Whoever might be out there isn’t my problem. I am my problem, my challenge, my gift. It’s up to me to step beyond my fear of what, or who, might be out there.
Hey world! I’m free! Watch me shine.