On Fear

I was planning to post about Baked Eggs.  It’s been all about Baked Eggs around here.  But that will have to wait.  This week I’ve had other things on my mind.

This has been a freaky week in my town.  My neighbor was mugged near her house, one of many commuters fanning out from the train to their homes, found alone, I suppose, on a well-lit street, forced to lay on the ground with a gun pointed at her.  This is the detail that keeps getting me: that she could see her neighbors inside their houses while this was going on.  Then we found a similar crime had occurred a few weeks ago, only later at night, a few blocks down.  Like a children’s game of telephone, stories rolled in of recent house burglaries that we somehow hadn’t heard about. Just as our fear was in full lather, the email from the school came about a staff member being grabbed by a man near the school (she got away).

I suppose these things are happening all the time, everywhere.  Or maybe not all the time, but these things do happen.  It doesn’t mean that suddenly, the world is more dangerous than it was the week before.  But it sure can feel that way.  Fear is really something, isn’t it?  The way it slithers its way in and takes hold.

Underneath life, there is always that big woolly question of how do we live with fear, the kind that has us get in the car and surreptitiously follow our son while he’s walking to school because we suspect he missed the meet-up with his friends on the corner (in my defense, I was right, he was walking alone, and not surprising, he was making his way to school without event).  Intellectually, I knew that he would be fine.  Emotionally, I was on high alert because of what felt like a pattern of frightening, threatening events in my town.

These are the two brains that parents must constantly negotiate: 1.Chances are, nothing bad will happen. Most of the time, bad things do not happen.  We will take reasonable precautions and proceed (logical) and 2. Bad things do sometimes happen. I can not for one minute let down my guard or take any risks, if I just exert my fear musculature enough, am ever vigilant, I can prevent bad things from happening (illogical and unfortunately, not true).  We know option 2 is untenable, but it’s such a tempting trap.  We are, after all, so small and helpless in the face of uncertainty.

sweet embrace

Images found here and here.

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