That four letter word has been on my mind lately. It has been creeping in like a slowly shifting desert. Blowing a few grains of sand here, a few there. They started to pile up a bit and reached quite high in some areas of my life. My old friend. I knew he was around the evidence told me, the scales were screaming at me, the little jobs were piling up The i’s were un-dotted and the t’s un-crossed. Yes fear had crept back into my life. It manifested itself in an unwillingness to apply for jobs, an obsession with finding “love” and a feeling of discontentment with my lot.
Well the scales are starting to sigh with relief again and my loose ends are being tidied up. I am no longer a member of the internet dating sites.The job thing just is and when the right one comes up I will apply for it in the meantime I am content with the long term relieving. My biggest fear remains and it is the hardest one to deal with. I fear that I am not good enough as a parent. I watch my children with their ups and downs and wonder what could I have done differently to prepare my children for life. I am sure that I could have been a much better parent.
I also fear that I am not good enough as a friend, that I am not adequate in my friendship, in my support, my giving and my acceptance.
Now I share this not because I want people to tell my that I am a great dad and a friend because I have people tell me that already. I share it because I am sure it is a fear that many other people have. The thing is that it doesn’t cripple me and my fear is dealt with generally by reflection, looking at myself honestly. I accept that I am flawed.
I accept that I have areas in my life to improve. Sometimes my confidence takes a knock especially when I see people around me suffering and hurting. I try to stay on the horse these days and get on with life and some days it is harder than others. As I have shared before it is sometimes harder to be reflective and honest because the masks fall away with honesty. When these fall away and I look in the mirror I see the things I don’t want to see and then I become concerned.
I see needs everywhere and right at the moment I have to stay focussed and cannot spread myself very far. I am frustrated at what I see with young people growing up barely literate, often perpetuating generational illiteracy and in amongst all of this I struggle to find a place for me. I feel guilty that I want time out that I need to relax and that I seek recreation. I wonder \what the narrative is in my life that instils guilt because I am worn out and tired. I look at undone mending and am harshly critical of myself when my frustration shows itself at what should be simple requests.
What does this say about me, well it says that I am human, that I share the fears and frustrations of parents, educators and many other people all over the world. I recognise the need to be kind to myself and to make sure that the lens that I use to view my world are not distorted by false guilt and unrealistic expectations from myself and others. I am acutely aware of the need that is expressed in society of finding someone to blame for everything. The obsession with blame is unhealthy and counter productive.
The need to blame is seated in fear as I have shared before and is countered by taking responsibility. We cannot avoid fear but as Mark Twain said “Courage is resistance to fear, mastery of fear – not absence of fear.”Twain also said that – “The fear of death follows from the fear of life. A man who lives fully is prepared to die at any time.”
So my challenge to myself and to you is live a full life remembering that eternity is only ever the thickness of an artery wall away and to be condemned for your passion for life is far better than to be forgotten because of your mediocrity