Fear is a despicable thing. Like bitterness and regret, it's one of those emotions that is almost always a waste of time. It glues you to the floor of your own crazy little circus. I know, because fear has chased me around like an insane clown most of my life. At various points in my life it's had me: running and jumping in bed so nothing reached out and grabbed my ankles; screaming and running from a harmless horseshoe grab so furiously that I ran into the ocean and into a drop-off without even knowing or caring; calling my dad, landlord, or 911 because I "heard a noise"; calling a prayer hotline because I was afraid the "rapture happened" and I figured if Christians answered the phone, it was probably ok; blasting cassette tapes of preaching while I was home alone. The list could go on endlessly, and admittedly, a lot of my crazier moments happened when I was a child. I'm not much less fearful now than I was then honestly. I've just learned what fears are more rational and how not to make myself look like a basket case. Sometimes I feel a lot like Aunt Josephine from this movie/and book series.
I think the solution for me and the other Aunt Josephine's of the world is that we have to become sick enough of the problem that we'll change it...hopefully before we paddle across an eel-filled lake to hide from the world in a cave. The only times I can ever do anything about my fears is when I just make a mental decision to not care. In the middle of the night when I wake up feeling vulnerable, and I can't convince myself I am safe despite an alarm system, deadbolts, good neighbors, outdoor lighting, guardian angels, double-locked windows, and a dog that hears everything, I have to choose not to be afraid even if I feel like I'm being stupid. Here's hoping that a little more age...a little more maturity...will run this out of me forever. Until then all I've got is prayer, a forced decision not to be afraid, and if all else fails, that piece of chocolate cake stashed in the fridge.