Tuesday, December 13, 2016


The eldest child was sent home from school today.  He'd somehow lodged a splinter under his finger nail. He was in pain, but without a school nurse, they couldn't do anything for him.  At home we tried soaking, drawing, and icing the injury, but nothing worked.  My husband, who possesses steady hands and incredible patience, tried to pull out the offending bit of wood, but ultimately failed when the kid had a panic attack.

The fear of pain pushed my son to refuse help. The pain he knew was preferable to the possibility of more pain.  I understand his perspective, but I worry about it, too.  His fear was so big, so real that he was inconsolable, irrational, and incredibly strong.  Nothing could console him.

Fear turned my usually gentle, reasonable, calm teenager into the Hulk.  Suddenly, I understood something about human nature that I didn't before: fear is stronger than pain.  This explains so many things, but it also makes me so sad.  Few people I know work to conquer their fear with reason and knowledge and hope, and so they spend so much of their time reacting to the world with fear. They will tolerate pain to avoid facing their fears.

I feel the need to examine my fears very closely now.  My hope is that understanding what I fear will allow me to loosen the hold fear has on me.  I don't know how else to move away from fear-based reactions, and I know that I don't want to be afraid of the world.

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