I did not write yesterday – instead I spent time thinking what I should write as my first post of the New year. I realized if there was anything I gained a bit of understanding in the past year – it is fear.
“I must say a word about fear. It is life’s only true opponent. Only fear can defeat life. It is a clever, treacherous adversary, how well I know. It has no decency, respects no law or convention, shows no mercy. It goes for your weakest spot, which it finds with unnerving ease. It begins in your mind, always … so you must fight hard to express it. You must fight hard to shine the light of words upon it. Because if you don’t, if your fear becomes a wordless darkness that you avoid, perhaps even manage to forget, you open yourself to further attacks of fear because you never truly fought the opponent who defeated you.” ― Yann Martel, Life of Pi
Last week of the past year was deliberately spent with an ailing family friend of mine – she has been bravely fighting Multiple Myeloma ( a type of cancer) for almost seven years. While I sat with her for the first time as a confidante, I carefully and objectively listened to her. Sometimes she almost cried, at others she was full of rage and misgivings. While I empathized with her situation of going through constant chemo and countless medicines everyday, I could not help but wonder if fear was overwhelming her? Even in this stage in her life, when everything seems bleak and each new day is a bonus; she is worrying about the unfair past and how she should continue living only to protect her children from the people she absolutely hates or actually fears, in spite of very low quality of life. In that process, however, the kids are not receiving her much deserved love but often see her disappointment culminating into anger and more fear.
Though her struggle and will to live is commendable; I’d have felt better if it was for the better reasons of loving and living with her kids in spite of the assault of the disease on her body and not buried in a duvet of insecurity and anguish at all times.
I inspected my life and found similar traces here and there. I found cob webs of anger, resentment, unsettled thoughts that never left me alone but over time, a clean sweep of forgiveness and forgetfulness helped quite a bit. Though such thoughts often creep out of no where, I am confident that given some time – I can drive them away. I am blessed with good fortune of health and love so far that I dare not succumb to the darkness of fear and anger. I believe once my dear friend was also in the same warm spot. Unfortunately, she is slowly fading away.
I feel defeated for not being able to convince her that this fear which is keeping her alive now – will consume her, and already has. Most likely it was unexpressed fear that made her unhappy, stressed and eventually, terminally ill in the first place. Now is the time to abandon it, squash it and take charge for life will not happen again. It will slip by quietly in the loneliness of sorrow and regret instead of the bliss of togetherness and love of a family or a friendship. Far worse, that will be the legacy left and not what she intends to; desperately wants to.
I am sure you can resonate when I say – we are all at this crossroad where she is, one way or other – afraid to let go and afraid to forgive for we think we will lose control, we will be passive and we will be left behind. But in our hearts we also realize that if we let go – we will grow, we will be free and life will become much richer and abundant than what it is now. So, step out of this viscous circle of fear, feel free after shedding all burdens of anger and blame and feel happy that you are truly alive.
Wishing you all a stupendous New Year!