Guest Post – What If I Was Meant To Fly! – Part II
( Continued from Monday’s post – What If I Was Meant To Fly! – Part I )
Since 2005, I’ve had panic attacks but they have been fewer and farther between. They mostly come with triggers: my being sick, sometimes when Steve or one of my kids is sick, Steve being out of town, thunderstorms and other bad weather, being at the doctor or dentist, flying or sometimes even being at the airport to drop somebody off. It sounds like a Monk-fears list, right?
Its gotten better. I used to have panic attacks in crowds, like at concerts or the movies or basketball games, all of which I love. Around the worst point, 2004 or so, I remember throwing up at a Casting Crowns concert. And a UTEP miners basketball game. I hid it well, but it was hard. I’m better about most of that kind of stuff now. In fact, I usually do ok during our big summer desert thunderstorms, since this past summer 2010. I have even been known to get out in the rain for a quick second, but then I get terrified and run back in. I used to watch the weather radar obsessively, fearing storms even when we were all safe inside. I’d pace the floor and watch for lightning, but I’m a little better about that now. I do ok when Steve leaves now, too, mostly. I take time off work when he’s gone and spend time with the kids and rest a lot, and while it’s not easy, it’s not debilitating anymore.
To somebody who’s never had a panic attack, it’s hard to explain. I’ve not met that many people who admit to knowing the feeling of squeezing, binding fear, racing heart, sweaty palms, upset stomach, and the list goes on. You think you are maybe dying, or at least ready to pass out, and then you don’t-and then you are supposed to go on with your day and take care of the kids or finish grocery shopping or whatever. It can be surreal.
I have said to those who I am super close to (nobody but Steve and God know all of this stuff about me, but some friends know some stuff, which sometimes really embarrasses me, cause face it, this is some weird stuff) that I think anxiety is my thorn in my flesh. That it will be with me forever, until Heaven. That it will plague whatever I do, sort of holding me back, unless I fight it tooth and nail. Did you know I was a missions major in college? Spent 2 summers flying back and forth to Mexico. A lot has changed since then.
So when the challenge yesterday was to tell a friend about a dream that you would love to see come true, especially if failure was not an issue, I texted Steve. I said, “My dream is to fly someday. To travel with you.” ‘Cause what if my old, not-so-good friend, panic, went away?
I started thinking about this last time I needed a tooth crowned at my dentist. I prayed super hard, and Steve coached me, and I even ate the night before, and slept. That was huge! I couldn’t eat the morning of, but I did walk in fairly relaxed (for me) and sat through the procedure pretty well. And the dentist, who knows I get scared, said, “See? We’ve done this lots of times before (for somebody with dental fears, I have horrible teeth, with tons of root canals and crowns and stuff) and you’re always ok. I always bring you through it ok.”
And I know Jesus was there that day. In fact, those were likely His words to me, not the dentist. Could I ever be brave enough to drop this fear? Because I’ve carried these bags for a long time. Shame and embarrassment has kept me from telling this story before; who wants to be thought of as someone to be pitied? As someone a little bit unstable? I’m scared as I write this of what you will think of me and my irrational fears.
But what if I could travel someday? What if I got brave, and God healed me enough to fly and enjoy the trip, and kept me ok like He did at the dentist last time? What if Steve took his water filters, and I took my 2 graduate degrees and my stethoscope, and went somewhere where clean water and health care are scarce? And what if we took Abby and Caleb? What if I saw the world God made like I used to dream of when I was a kid, before I knew what anxiety could do to me? And what if I liked it? And the world was different because I could fly, and travel, and cure some sick kids?
I think I make a difference here in El Paso and have a beautiful, blessed life despite the chains of fear that threaten to bind me at times. They haven’t, not completely, and that is only by God’s amazing, astounding grace. But what if I, a kid from a violent house and totally messed up family (another story, most likely connected, but this is enough for now) am meant for more?
That would be crazy, don’t you think? What if I’m meant to fly? It’s hard to fathom.