fear of heights, fear of fear


When I get scared, I swear like a sailor.

And so last night, I was standing on a ladder, about to climb onto a roof with four of my best people to watch the fireworks happening all over the city.  Two steps from the top, and I stood there, frozen and on the verge of tears.  And the only thing stopping me from going back down and staying on the ground was my husband, standing behind me, climbing up with me and refusing to let me back down.

He does that.  He makes me look my fears in the eye.  A couple years ago, he made me get on a roller coaster with a 205 foot drop, because he knew how much it terrified me, and fear isn’t something he’s okay with for me.  I love that about him, and I hate it simultaneously.

And so last night, I was standing on a ladder, unleashing my sailor’s tongue in the general direction of my best friend.

“I’m never going to put you in a situation where you’re going to get hurt, Aud.”

He has this quiet, calm voice in the middle of my fear that makes me want to hold on to him for dear life because he’s just so good, and simultaneously makes me want to punch him in the face.  His goodness always wins out, though…and so I climbed the last two steps, planted my knees on the roof.  Turned around and scooted my butt up to the highest point of the roof, where Cassie and Meredith and Jake were waiting.  And I sat there, and I felt like I was going to vomit.  For thirty minutes, we sat there watching fireworks, and in the background, there was this knot of overwhelming panic.

And then the music happened.  Jake had his banjo, Joshua had a guitar, Cass had her tambourine.  And we sat there, on the top of a roof in the middle of a Texas suburb in the last few hours of the fourth of July, and we sang.  And the ache in my chest relaxed, my grip on the roof eased.  And we sang.

Music cancels out fear.  For me, at least.  Music cancels out fear, dulls it enough for me to see it clearly.

I am afraid a lot lately.  Of things I can’t even put my finger on.  Of losing myself, the person I’ve become, the woman God tore down to rebuild from the ground up.  Of going back to being the person I was for a very long time, a person who can only be described as beige–pleasing and palatable and unoffensive and neutral.  Of this season, the season of not knowing, lasting forever.  Of always being around the corner from something extraordinary, always two steps from the top of the ladder only to back down to safer ground.  Of being more attached to the safety of the ground than I am to being an irreplaceable part of a Kingdom story.

This is life right now; my arms like scales, always weighing the fear of heights with the fear of fear.  I want to be more afraid of fear than anything else, afraid of it enough to recognize it as a cruel tyrant, to not let it keep me on the ground.  To face it and let the music play through it.

Music cancels out fear.


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