I have lived in fear. It is not a healthy way to live a life.
I was afraid within my marriage. Not all of the time. Just some of the time. It was cyclical and I could feel the waves before the storm rushed in. It took a decade but I finally broke out of that life. I moved five hours away and built a quiet little life with my children.
Our life wasn't perfect but it was very good. I was far from a perfect parent but I was trying my best. Of all the years of my life, "those" are the ones I would like to try to live over. I wonder if there is anything I could have done differently to change the way things unfolded. Because a decade after our move, I felt like I was living with my husband again. The constricted heart, the tension, the waves and the seeds of fear were becoming part of our lives again.
Once again, I made hard choices to "take back my life" and make our house a home again. The calmness, the feeling of safety and security seeped back into these four walls. I felt in control again.
There have been waves of fear since that time. I stopped delivering newspapers after a few incidents that reminded me how vulnerable I was when I was walking up and down the streets while most of the city slept. I loved the exercise, the fresh air, the peace and breathed in the beauty of nature while the world slept. But I was afraid to walk alone.
Our house has been robbed twice, our shed was vandalized and an "intruder" walked in through an unlocked door and wandered through our house before she took a nap on my bed. I learned that our walls of safety and the locks on our doors only bring a sense of peace. They are not foolproof.
I have been angry when fear dictated how we live and threatened our sense of security. "No one has the right to take away another human being's sense of feeling safe. No one!"
I have walked along in my quiet little life within my safe and predictable world and I have lived happily ever after in my place where "fairy tale endings" mean feeling safe and the belief that I am in control of my own sense of security.
I live a peaceful existence within a home, a community, a city and a country where "peace" rules. I have raised my children with the belief that I cannot change the world but I can make my own little impact by modelling a life I hope my children will envelop, live out and perpetuate. I believe little things make a big impact.
Then a read about the acts of terror which are unfolding as I live and breathe within this serene little existence I have come to believe I "deserve". And the ground I walk on begins to shake.
How do you walk away from fear when fear is all around you? How do you fight an enemy who does not have a face? How to you build a fortress of safety when all walls can be penetrated? How do you live in a world that is being infiltrated with fear?
I can't think too hard about this because it makes my head and heart hurt. I need to keep believing if I raise "good citizens" and model the life I believe the next generation should emulate that I will make a small impact on those innocent little beings who have found their way into my care.
I often claim to be "Switzerland" when a dispute arises. I like to stay neutral and safe within the confines of a "country" that is a safe place to land.
Is there a "Switzerland" any place within this new world? I keep doing what I am doing, believing what I have always believed and I plan to hold onto the little peace of serenity I have found within this great big scary world. Because some place, in a land far away another mother has raised her family the only way she knew how and followed the lead of those within her community. An entire generation of children have been raised believing what they have been taught to believe is right.
As Glennon Doyle would say, "Just do the next right thing." It is all we can ever really do. I will not live in fear and I will continue to do the next right thing. Day by day, step by step. And I will continue to be grateful for this quiet little existence of mine, where I wake up to life as I know and expect it to be. Every morning we wake up to that, is a gift.