One of the previous owners of my home, confided that she had never walked as far as the back fence in our yard or spent much time outdoors because she had a fear of spiders. I was surprised, because I love my yard so much, but I was also empathetic, because I share her fear of spiders. And this house has spiders, lots of spiders! Fortunately, I have a very good exterminator and so I rarely ever see one. In fact, about the only place I do see spiders these days are in my dreams; the same dreams that have plagued me since I was a little girl. They are always the same and involve big spiders (usually dropping down my neck), tangled webs blocking my way and someplace that I really need to get to. They still lurk in the dark corners of my soul and lie deep in the cellars of my unconscious.
This dream has reoccurred so many times that it has become pretty self-evident what it is all about. Obviously, something that I fear is blocking the way to where I really need to be. In the same way, my friend was limited in the enjoyment of her home and yard by a fear that many may see as unfounded. But, unless you have had one of those big, hairy creatures drop down on you or reached around a rock and found yourself face to hourglass with a glossy, eight-legged widow even if just in your sleep, we can’t judge each other’s fears.
Ironically, it has been another spider that has helped me to laugh and move on. Living with a house full of skiers and one motorcycle rider has helped me to stare fear in the face as I have folded numerous “No Fear” t-shirts over the years and washed hats and gloves emblazoned with the Spyder ski-wear logo. Folding socks has caused me to ponder what it means to have “no fear” and matching gloves reminds me that Spyders are just an article of clothing. The most important lesson I have learned from my family is that “perfect love drives out fear.”
Love is the “spider exterminator.” I have watched the love of the slopes drive out the fear of falling. The love of soaring beat the fear of jumping. The love of music cast out the fear of performing. The love of dancing overcome the fear of stepping on toes. The love of art and beauty conquer the fear of being unique. I have seen the love of freedom triumph over the fear of risk. And most importantly, the love of being one’s real self conquer the fear of judgment.
In my own life, the love of gardening has overcome my fear of the creatures that share the dirt. However, the “exterminator” is on my calendar for the first day of spring and serves as a gentle reminder that my love of writing can defeat my fear of criticism, my love of truth will always overcome the fear of “not knowing” and my love of others must cast out any fear of reaching out… and speaking out …and sometimes letting go.
Anyone brave enough to share a fear….