Breaking out

I love my home, I truly do, but I’ve found the need to break out of it.

Our current house is the one abode I’ve actually lived in the longest time of my life. My family lived in two different houses when I was growing up, but the longest period of time I lived in one of those was from age seven to the time I went to college.

Papa and I have lived in several houses in different locations over our 40+ years of marriage but this structure situated on our country acreage is the place we now call home. And I’m most grateful for it. I’m content living here. This place gives me peace.

But…even I, a person who loves her home and doesn’t mind being at home, have grown weary of just that – being home.

Being socially and physically isolated and having to follow sheltering in place edicts that have been forced upon us by government officials determining it was to flatten the curve of the covid-19 pandemic, to protect us from widespread outbreaks, to eliminate overwhelming hospitals, etc. has been difficult to say the least.

We are a mobile society. We are accustomed to going where we please, when we want, and for how long we want. That’s one of our freedoms that perhaps we take for granted and have been duly reminded of during this time.

However, I’m not writing this to discuss the pros and cons of everything that has transpired in the last few months. You have your opinion and I have mine and let’s leave it at that. The real reason I’m expressing this is because basically, I’ve become antsy from staying at home for so much of the time.

Oh, I get out a bit. Of course, since we live in the country, I can go outside of my house for as long as I want and weather permits without meeting another soul. Also a friend and I go walking for exercise and sanity a few times a week in an area where we encounter only a couple people here and there.

Papa and I have ventured out for take-out food occasionally. And since our state governor finally opened up our county (even though we had very few covid cases, we were locked down until he moved us to a “green phase,”) we’ve stopped grocery store deliveries to our front porch and one of us, all masked up like a burglar, treks to the market.

We’ve also taken little jaunts in the car just around our neck of the woods along country roads, just driving for the sake of it and getting out of the house. All we encountered on those outings were other cars, some wildlife here and there, and scenery but not any interaction with other human beings, be they friend, family, or stranger.

We’ve Face-timed our grown kids, chatted on the phone, and I’ve led a Bible study via video conferencing for some ladies from my church, but both Papa and I have yearned to just get out and about, seeing different sights and people, taking a road trip, and simply traveling with a destination in mind, Those aspects are just some of the ways we’ve enjoyed retirement and now it’s something we truly miss doing.

So, covid-19 or no covid-19, we decided to change that, mostly because both Papa and I refuse to live our lives in fear. This week, I’m going to take you, my readers, along for a ride or two to spots we ventured to visit. No worries though, we practiced social distancing when it was necessary and yes, we cared enough about other folks that we wore a mask when we landed in public places.

We traveled to spend an entire weekend at our son and daughter-in-law’s home (several hours away and in the state next door). In fact, every member of our family, which included us, our grown kids and their spouses, and our three little grandchildren, gathered together for the weekend there, the first we’ve all been together since Christmas.

It proved to be a joyful reunion and watching our three little ones play together just made us so darn happy. What a world of good it did for us as we enjoyed fun and fellowship with our family, delicious food, and plenty of relaxation outside on son and daughter-in-law’s back yard patio.

It was just the prescription needed for Papa’s and my bit of melancholy over social isolating and to put aside any smidgen of fear that keeps permeating the news and air waves and threatening to engulf us.

Tomorrow, I’ll share our next little journey busting out of our sheltering in place “prison.”

“We generate fears while we sit. We overcome them by action.” — Dr. Henry Link

©2020 mamasemptynest.wordpress.com

Throwback Thursday: breaking out of fear prison

blog233Almost 10 years ago, I started this Mama’s Empty Nest blog. Since then some aspects of life have changed and some have not. I’ve decided to share throw-back posts from the earlier years of this blog every now and then. Sort of a walk down memory lane.

I wrote this Thursday throwback nine years ago in January 2011 when our family was facing some uncertain times.  My hope today is that these words offer encouragement to my readers as we go through this difficult and uncertain time now.   

Fear snaked its way through my mind, wrapped itself around my subconscious and then seized my dreams like a boa constrictor squeezing the life out of its prey.

If that sounds ugly, it was.   Last night, in the middle of the night, I awakened from nightmares that gripped me with such fear that I found myself sweat-drenched and panic-stricken, my heart pounding wildly.

Three times I rose from my bed and tried to calm my overly stimulated and anxiety-stricken mind, but each time I tried to lie back down again and go back to sleep, panic would overwhelm me.  Only fervent prayer proved to eradicate the foreboding feeling that gripped me.

The late President Franklin D. Roosevelt said it all when he said, “The only thing we have to fear is fear itself.” Fear can be such an overwhelming emotion, one that paralyzes you and imprisons you as surely as being placed behind iron bars.

When I was a child, I was frightened of the dark, especially if I had to walk somewhere alone in it, but I eventually overcame that fear.  As an adult, I can recall a few times when trepidation seized me with such sharpness, it physically hurt.

When we lived in the Midwest, news circulated about a stalker of sorts who telephoned women when their husbands were away, telling them details of their personal life that he knew.   My husband traveled a lot for business and also at the time served in the National Guard.  One weekend he was away on Guard maneuvers and I attended a friend’s bridal shower.

My teenage babysitter called me there, fear dripping from her shaking voice, as she claimed an unidentified man had just called our home, thinking she was me and telling her he knew my husband was out-of-town.  Terrified, she observed a man walking through the wooded area directly behind our house.

I called the police and hurried home.  By then, the man was gone, but the officers took info from the babysitter and told me if he phoned again to be sure to call them.

That night felt like the longest night of my life.  My three young children knew little about what had transpired that day and I wanted to keep it that way.  After I bathed them and got them settled into bed, I was alone and that’s when terror crept its way into my thoughts.

I didn’t sleep that night, I cringed in my bed with a wooden ball bat gripped in my hands and every little creak or snap that I heard startled me and sent my heart racing.  And I prayed for God to protect my children and myself.

My cancer diagnosis five years ago (15 years ago now) caused the same kind of dread to well up within me.  Someone once said, “Feed your faith and your fears will starve to death.” 

I have found that statement to be true because when I devoted myself to prayer and allowed other believers in Christ to pray over me, that overwhelming fear was dispelled.  I literally experienced that feeling physically leave my body and I was able to rationally face the ordeal ahead of me.

Currently, my family is facing some uncertainties.  I’m sure that’s why my sleep was disturbed by nightmares and my concerns turned to great apprehension last night.

The 12th page of Chapter One (January 12th) in my book of Opportunity finds me refusing to allow fear and consternation cage me in a terror-filled prison.  So I will hand over my worries and concerns to God, who is big enough, powerful enough, and almighty enough to handle them for me. 

Faith breaks open the prison bars that try to keep us locked in a state of panic.

“There is much in the world to make us afraid.  There is much more in our faith to make us unafraid.” ~Frederick W. Cropp

©2011 mamasemptynest.wordpress.com

So many people across the world are experiencing fear and near panic right now. In times that induce fear, I’m reminded of passages in the Bible where God implores us to fear not.

Passages like Psalm 46:1–3:  “God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear though the earth gives way, though the mountains be moved into the heart of the sea, though its waters roar and foam, though the mountains tremble at its swelling” encourage me.

Even the most terrifying events like the one facing us right now cannot shake us from hanging on to our firm foundation in God. It is in a sovereign God I place my trust. And I pray you can do the same.

“The only known antidote to fear is faith.” ~ Woodrow Kroll

©2020 mamasemptynest.wordpress.com