I was reading through a series of blog posts by The U, and dude got me to thinking. He posed a simple question. If you were to make this statement:
“What I feared has come upon me; what I dreaded has happened to me.”1
What would you be talking about?
That got me thinking. This isn't about fear of dying. Death removes all fear or dread. Job intended to convey a fear he had to live with. What befell Job was, to him, a fate much worse than death. A fate from which there was no relief. If Job's fate befell me, what would that circumstance be? What is it I fear most?
I have accepted that those close to me will die one day, as will I. Death is a part of life. I don't fear it or dread it. Illness leading to death, no matter how painful, slow, or debilitating is also a part of life. I don't welcome it, but neither do I dread it. Dying as a result of some awful accident? Really, does it matter the form in which death comes? It is coming and it is relentless.
Loss of my senses. Sight. Hearing. Troublesome, yes. But I would adapt and lead a full life, I think. Loss of limb. A mere inconvenience. Paralysis. I'd learn to do wheelies in my chair. Can't communicate? I have a full life going on inside my head most of the time anyway. My thoughts would just be my little secret.
So what am I afraid of? Loss of freedom? Having to be or forced to be dependent on someone? I have a brother in prison. While I agree that prison is not an enviable lifestyle, I think I would survive it.
Rape? As someone who has dealt with sexual assault, I can say with confidence that it can be overcome.
Being alone? I'm not one to get lonely. Fear of dying alone? We all die alone.
Fear of failure? Fear that I have wasted my life? Fear of being forgotten? Fear that I will disappoint my loved ones? Nope. Nope. Nope. Nope. I will fail. I have wasted a grand portion of my life. I will be forgotten. I have disappointed my loved ones.
I think people who have children have fears I will never know. Fear for a child's health and safety. Fear for their future. Those are not my fears.
I was beginning to wonder if I was fearless. But then something began to nag at me. Something small. And the more I thought about it, the more the lack of it seemed to fill me with an emptiness that I didn't want to consider. Because I am living with that thing I dread everyday.
My fear is that I will die before I know love. I'm 46. I'm past the halfway mark here. I haven't found a loving relationship in my adult life. I don't know what it is like to love and be loved in return. I have looked, not looked, waited, pursued, turned over rocks, kissed frogs, given up, taken up the search again. Zilch. Nothing. Nada. I'd love to say I loved my husband, but it's a lie. I don't know what a loving relationship feels like. I don't know what an honest love between a man and a woman feels like.
Funny thing. Unlike Job, for whom the thing he dreaded most arrived on his doorstep and settled in for the long haul, I live every day with that thing I dread most, and the only thing that keeps me going is the hope that one day it will move along and leave me to my happiness.