Fear is like a spider’s web. It catches in your hair and sticks. You can shower, and comb, but you will still find bits and pieces, now and then.
I know spider webs well. Long hours of my childhood were spent in the woods. In Autumn there were webs strung between nearly every tree. It was impossible to avoid them. The sticky feeling on my arms and face was too frequent to be more than annoying. It barely phased me to find a spider crawling up my arm.
What bothered me was the old webs. Full of dead bugs and dust, they were more clingy than the new. Too find a bit of one in my hair after playing in the woods made my stomach turn. Sometimes we catch a web. Other times the web catches us.
That is how the past haunts the present. It sticks. You may be well adjusted, happy, successful, but that web still holds fast. Emotions don’t have calendars. They forget that what happened ten years ago, has little bearing on the present.
My year didn’t go as planned. In the Spring I had a schedule for the year. By Summer the schedule was irreparably shattered. In the Summer I fell in love, and my emotions forgot that I was happy.
How is it possible to be happy, really happy, but be unable to feel it? I had felt depression before, when my emotions stopped working, and I couldn’t feel anything. But to be happy, and feel sad, to know I was safe, and feel scared, took me by surprise.
Perhaps you have felt similarly? Maybe you have sat among friends on a Summer’s day, sharing with them an activity you love, and felt only coldness. Perhaps you have had to concentrate on your breathing for hours on end, fighting for calm against an irrational fear. Perhaps this has lasted for days, weeks, as the frozen knot inside of you is pulled to the breaking point.
With irrational fear, logic makes no impression.
There is no cure for rogue emotions, the past will stick, but it is still the past. I was happy, even when I couldn’t feel it. Sometimes, and slowly, reality is enough. For this present, I want to say thanks.
I am thankful that Summer is gone. I am thankful for the people who stood by me and understood. The people reminded me, not by logic, but by walking with me through the anxiety attacks, that I was safe and happy. I am thankful for the scriptures through which God comforted me. I am thankful that it is almost Winter and I can feel happy again.
I am thankful that on a bright morning a spider’s web is a lovely thing.