Saturday, August 31, 2013

swinging and bending, part 5: a friendship with fear.

“I must say a word about fear. It is life's only true opponent. Only fear can defeat life. It is a clever, treacherous adversary, how well I know. It has no decency, respects no law or convention, shows no mercy. It goes for your weakest spot, which it finds with unnerving ease. It begins in your mind, always ... so you must fight hard to express it. You must fight hard to shine the light of words upon it. Because if you don't, if your fear becomes a wordless darkness that you avoid, perhaps even manage to forget, you open yourself to further attacks of fear because you never truly fought the opponent who defeated you.” 

Read the first part of this story, here.  
 the second part, here.
 the third part, here.
and the fourth part, here.

after we moved from my parents' basement, ben and i settled into our quiet life in the apartment in spanish fork.  my anxiety as a mother to my son with special needs continued, and fear took on a new form:  isolation.  most of the time i kept to myself, taking long daily walks with caleb during good weather.  i convinced myself it was just my homebody tendencies, but deep down i knew it wasn't true.  this was more than just loving the comforts of my own home, this was creating a life of control, structure and order out of fear and survival.  ben and i went through the motions of church callings, accomplishing what was required, but didn't open up to anyone outside of family and close friends about caleb's struggles and continual demands.

the high maintenance of caleb's care kept me occupied, and when others volunteered to baby-sit for me--even family--i kindly refused.  truthfully, i still couldn't trust anyone except myself and ben to take care of him.  on the rare occasion i said yes, i didn't relax during my time away, tortured with the "what if" questions spinning in my head.  i was a classic "helicopter parent" before i even knew the definition of it.

fear continued to surround me in a storm, becoming my best friend.  it fell like raindrops in every facet of my life, helping me create obsessive control that built a false sense of security.  i didn't know that the frail bubble of fear i had formed to keep my son safe would soon pop, as they usually always do.

caleb had been having minor seizures starting at 10 days old, but when his 31 minute grand mal seizure happened when he was 18 mos old, i was traumatized.  i realize that most mothers would be traumatized, but because i had already been working so closely with fear, letting it trick me into believing i was the one keeping him safe and alive....well, in those terrifying days following the seizure when i was home alone with him, i had to sit in the knowledge that i actually had no control over the situation.  the trauma of having almost two years of built up fake-control and false-sense of security ripped away left me completely vulnerable and alone.  i knew then that my best friend was my worst enemy, and a liar.  the problem was, i didn't know yet how to fight back, combatting the lies with truth, or more importantly, how to leave the relationship with fear.  so, i coped.  i inched through each day, continuing to isolate, praying for God to help me to find a way out.  i see now how He was preparing me to find that way, guiding me to a path that would require extremely hard work.

we were in our apartment for a year when we came to the conclusion that ben was in a dead-end job, and decided to put our life in God's hands.  we prayed and made a list of what we could do to find a career path that would help us not only financially, but also emotionally.

ben knew he would never be satisfied in a cubicle.  more than anything he wanted to help others but was unsure of which path to take.  go back to school?  take another pay cut to start in a field that was severely overworked and underpaid?  so, we set a date, giving ourselves two months of searching every avenue.  we told God that after two months if we were still out of options, we were going pick up our belongings and move to texas, which was where ben's oldest brother and family were living.  we would risk it all for a fresh start.  we picked january 22, 2007 as the day we would make our decision, and got to work.

i began job hunting for ben during the day, sending in resumes everywhere i could.  he continued trying to transfer within his company, letting his boss and co-workers know he was looking for other options. they loved and valued him, but told him their hands were tied.  ben interviewed for several jobs, and looked into higher education, but was only met with dead ends.  as the date crept closer, we prepared ourselves for what seemed the inevitable--moving to texas. we began to get excited about a scary, but fresh start.

on the afternoon of january 22, i sat down to the computer one last time, searching for any other options.  i found an online local newspaper and clicked on the classified section.

and there it was.

goosebumps ran up my arms as i read the job posting for a married couple to become "Family Teachers" in north carolina, managing and running a home filled with teenagers who had been diagnosed with mental and behavioral problems.  tears filled my eyes--not because it was something i wanted to do.  in fact, i felt the opposite, with zero desire to take this position.  but when i read the words and researched the company, the tears filled my eyes because it was one of the very few and far-between moments in my life that i knew without a doubt, it was what we were supposed to do.

when ben arrived home that night, i showed him the job opening and he felt exactly the same way.  we sent in our application and put off the move to texas, knowing we had been led to this very moment in our lives.

it was during this same time that my parents decided to divorce.


Rachel Chick said...

Oh, my dear friend. I love you so much. I hope you know what a blessing your life is to me. I know that sounds weird, but the hand of the Lord is so clear in your life. I love it. I can see it in the people that you and Ben are. In the blessing you are to others. How thankful I am to call you my friend. I know I probably sound like a broken record, but I feel it deeply and always. I love you. Thank you for sharing.

Nana said...

I'm sure this is difficult to share and relive those feelings all over again. But you've come a long way of discovery and I admire you for sharing those years of desperate feelings. Sharing is helping me in my life and I'm thankful you are blogging about these feelings. I love you sweet Linsey! You are a gift to so many people!