Anyone who reads mysteries or watches TV crime shows (we love Criminal Minds around here!) knows that fear has a smell. Now I'm not positive, but it's possible that Jamaica sometimes smells of fear. She gets scared and her sphincter tightens so much you can smell her all the way to Canada. It's a sad state of affairs, I'm sorry to say. If she wasn't a dog, and was capable of complex emotions, she'd be humiliated by such a stain of odor wafting from her. We're all thankful she's merely a dog. My point, though, is that when I think of the smell of fear, I now will always think of Jamaica. Sorry to say. The smell of fear.
And without going into details, I've spent a great portion of the last year not necessarily smelling fear, but just short of it. Living with fear so close to the surface that it does practically emanate from my skin. I climb from my bed in the morning and fight against it all day long, then battle it even as I am drifting off to sleep at night. In March of 1933, our parents and grandparents gathered around their radios to listen to the president as he took the oath of office It was the height of the great depression and the great dust bowl and they had real things to be afraid of, like finding enough pennies to buy milk for their babies, and a piece of coal for their furnace, and what they'd do if those babies got sick. But that president, a man who never admitted until his last speech he ever gave that he couldn't even stand, let alone walk, told them that the only thing they had to fear was fear itself. Fear itself as the largest fear. I wonder at the audacity of such words to a nation with such real, empty-pocketed things to be afraid of. But that country believed him. They ate up those words. Trusted they were true.
I am pretty sure they aren't true, actually. There are real things to be afraid of. Things worth worrying about. And God knows this. He knows that it's battle. But instead of simply telling us not to fear (though He also does this), He also gives us reasons to hope. In the last few days, the fear that has been twisting my insides is loosening. And I can only attribute that to one thing. To one Who, I should say. God is on the move. He is. All this time, I've been asking, pleading, praying for Him to move, and He is.
Last night I lay in my bed and thought, "This is what hope feels like." A knot in my stomach, a clench in my throat, tears at the corners of my eyes. I've felt this way before. This sense of expectancy, of waiting and watching and trusting that if He is moving as He is, there is no stopping Him.
Think of the one thing you want most in the whole world. If you're a parent--if you're like me--that one thing is all wrapped up in your children. What I want is for my children to be well, to be who God intended them to be, and to be in relationship with Him. OK, so that isn't just one thing. But in a sense, it is. All wrapped up in the one main thing. It's what I hope for. And that hope blooms. Like a scent.
P.S. And you know, when I begin to pray for others, I lean in to how I feel about my children, lean in to the very deep, powerful desire I have for them, and let that flow over onto my prayers, indeed, my very heart, for all others.