Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Getting to Know Fear

Fear and I have been cohabitating for the past 18 months. We've come to know each other quite well. Fear is an emotion that almost all of us avoid at one point or another. Yesterday, I watched a video clip from Matt Hammitt, lead singer of Sanctus Real, a Christian band. Matt's son, Bowen, was born with HLHS shortly after Zoe.

"All of Me" from Ryan Lynch on Vimeo.

I, along with many other HLHS moms and dads, felt the same fear - the fear of loving your own child. Matt made a conscious decision to rid himself of that fear prior to Bowen's birth. Many of us, including myself, subconsciously avoided bonding fully with our newborn CHDers for fear of losing them. It took me several months to rid myself of that "protection" after Zoe's birth. But now, as Matt so eloquently puts it, I can recklessly love Zoe, even if I bleed.

Throughout this journey, I've found several poignant quotes and testimonials. A few days ago, prior to seeing Matt's video, I read this teaching on Getting to Know Fear which describes the fear I've been dealing with for months now, and illustrates how fear serves a great purpose in all of our lives.

"We cannot be in the present moment and run our story lines at the same time. Experiement with this for yourself, and watch how it changes you. Impermanance becomes vivid in the present moment; so do compassion and wonder and courage. And so does fear. In fact, anyone who stands on the edge of the unknown, fully in the present, without a reference point, experiences groundlessness. That's when our understanding goes deeper, when we find that the present moment is a pretty vulnerable place and that this can be completely unnerving and completely tender at the same time.

What we're talking about is getting to know fear, becoming familiar with fear, looking it right in the eye - not as a way to solve problems, but as a complete undoing of old ways of seeing, hearing, smelling, tasting and thinking. The truth is that when we really begin to do this, we're going to be continually humbled. Fear is a natural reaction of moving closer to the truth. If we commit ourselves to staying right where we are, then our experience becomes very vivid. Things become very clear when there is nowhere to escape."

-- Comfortable with Uncertainty, Pema Chodron


  1. Beautifully said Stacey! Thank you for sharing this and your thoughts on fear. Matt Hammit is amazing and his song "All of Me" so truly captures what this journey is like. It is incredibly hard loving something that cause you so much pain. However, I woudln't have it any other way. The bond that I share with Logan because of the pain we have both endured is something that no one person can truly ever experience unless they have been down this road.

  2. Stacey,
    I could relate to every emotion you and Matt talked about. Thanks for sharing your thoughts as you fight the enemy of fear.