My mom and dad are getting divorced and my dad is leaving us, it makes me so sad, and my brother is going away for college, too, so I won’t have him anymore starting soon.
Then my doctor told me I have a problem with my heart valve and I’m doing all sorts of tests for it. They say not to worry because it’s only a small thing, but I am so scared about everything.
SCARED IN NORTH CAROLINA
After my father’s suicide, I was scared. Very scared. My mother, my sister, and I were all terrified. I can’t even tell you why, exactly.
And it was worse at night. We slept in the same bedroom for many years. I slept on the floor, at the foot of Mama’s bed.
Before bedtime, I’d push a dresser in front of her bedroom doorknob.
Irrational, I know.
But that’s fear. It makes you do strange things. And after someone dies—or when parents divorce, or when you get sick, or when someone hurts you—you get bucketfuls of fear.
One night, my mother heard a crash downstairs. I grabbed a baseball bat—the same slugger I won regional championships with.
I walked the dark house barefoot. I trembled so that I could hardly hold the bat. My heart beat hard.
I saw glowing eyes in the kitchen. Our outdoor cat had gotten trapped indoors. She jumped onto the refrigerator and knocked something over.
I almost vomited. I dropped the bat. I collapsed on the floor and cried until my ears rang.
So, I’m the wrong fella to ask about how to not be afraid. I can’t tell you how because I don’t know.
But I can tell you that I sort of understand what you feel.
I know what it means to stare at the ceiling, wondering where your loved ones have gone. And I know what it means to be the only kid in eighth grade who worries so hard he develops an ulcer.
I know what it means to be anxious and exhausted. And I know what it means to carry a Louisville Slugger in the dark.
The ugly truth is, you cannot change what’s happening. You can’t undo what your mother and daddy have done. You can’t cure heart valves, ulcers, headaches, nor hurt.
But there is, however, something I’ve found that makes fear and worry feel almost bearable.
Someone else. Another soul who is brave enough to feel afraid with you. It only takes one.
And if you find someone willing to do this, you will only feel half your fear. Which is better than feeling it all at once.
Then one day, when you get through this, you’ll remember writing me, and you’ll realize what I am still learning:
That even though you walk through the Valley of the Shadow of Death, you shouldn’t fear any evil because you aren’t alone. Thy rod and thy staff, and thy Louisville Slugger will comfort you.
Listen to me. No matter what happens, everything will be alright, darling.
That’s not an opinion.
Suzanne Wright - June 16, 2017 2:17 pm
Beautiful heat words.
Cathi Russell - June 16, 2017 2:25 pm
You keep doing it…the ugly cry before 9:30 am. It ain’t pretty but it was necessary. Thanks new friend!
Martha - June 16, 2017 2:40 pm
You made my heart ache!
Connie - June 16, 2017 2:49 pm
Thank you for your caring heart that answers people so beautifully. To “Scared”, just hang on honey. Find someone to talk to, even if it’s just one good friend, to keep you centered and not feel so alone. Sending positive thoughts your way.
Lori Klein - June 16, 2017 2:58 pm
You’re wrong, Sean. You were very brave. Brave isn’t being without fear. Brave is being full of fear and walking through the house in the dark with the baseball bat anyway. Brave is getting up and going to school with so much anxiety you get an ulcer, but you do it anyway. Brave is facing the fear of the unknown every damn day and still just doing it. So many good folks are brave. But the fear is there, and it’s a very hard thing.
Dear One in North Carolina, of corse you’re scared. That just means you’re awake and paying attention to what’s going on around you right now. You’ve got a lot of stuff coming at you. But Mr Dietrich is right. You will be ok. It’s going to be hard, and yes, scary, but you’re not alone. And you, some good earthly friends, and a Good Shepherd will get you through. Please be sure you’ve got those things on your side. Folks here are going to tell you that you’ll be alright. And they’ll say it because it’s been true for them. Im sorry you’re having to deal with this all at once and at a young age. That sucks. The only thing that makes it even halfway ok is that one day you’re going to be able to tell someone else that they can make it through, and you can help them learn to be brave too.
You can do this, brave young soul. Even though you shouldn’t have to.
Sandra Simpson - August 11, 2017 2:55 pm
Marsha Kindig - August 12, 2017 3:05 am
Dear NC young man – First, you are brave to open up and write about your trials – takes courage. Sometimes life’s trials come in waves, some bigger than others. Your parents decision to divorce might end up being a good thing, if there is strife in the home. They both love you very much and will be there for you – be encouraged about that. Give things a little time, there will be an adjustment period but soon things will settle down and smooth out. Know you will miss your brother that is college bound but will be home for holidays, special occasions and hopefully summers. This is an exciting time for him but I’m sure he’s a little scared too, with all the changes. Make a promise to each other to stay in close contact via, text or phone calls. You guys need each other, so make a point to lift each other up. Things are going to be fine and things will be looking up for you and your family soon. Keep your chin up and don’t let circumstances steal your joy. You have a great life ahead of you and remember You are loved!
Marisa Franca @ All Our Way - June 16, 2017 3:09 pm
Your words always touch my heart! You were brave. Being brave is going ahead a doing something even though you’re fearful. And it’s always good to be reminded that we are never alone — even in the dark.
Alicia - June 16, 2017 3:15 pm
Dear Scared in North Carolina,
I’m praying for you and your whole family. You’re on my heart and now in it. Sending love to you from Mississippi.
Nedra Tucker - June 16, 2017 4:30 pm
Prefect Answer and Advice. Everything is worse at night and you start to overthink everything because we are alone in our thoughts. The sun will come up and everthing seems much better. We are not alone even in the middle of the night. We just need to reach out. Be still and know God has this, even in the worst and best of times.
Norma Williams - June 16, 2017 5:26 pm
You always say the right thing. From one who has known fear, you could not have given better advise. Sending you prayer and love from Gantt, Alabama.
Karen - June 16, 2017 6:00 pm
I can share the fear and pain, I come from divorced parents, I am divorced myslef and know so much of what you are talking about, so much pain and hurt….Fear conquers nothing, be strong and know God is with you. You are never alone and must remember to trust because there is no other way. Your message was great and the truth is what it is… Thank you for you words!!
Sandra Blazynski - June 16, 2017 6:49 pm
Beautiful. And true. All except one thing: headaches, ulcers, heart valves, all those physical things, most of the time, CAN be cured.
You’re a lovely soul, Sean. And, a shining example of how to use the gifts of your own, painful experiences in service to others.
Bobbie - June 16, 2017 8:00 pm
Kathy - June 16, 2017 8:27 pm
Sound advice- I’m off to get my Louisville Slugger now!
Esteban Rudman - June 16, 2017 9:59 pm
We waste a lot of time worrying about things that never happen. Like the burglar in the kitchen who turned out to be a cat. It has been said that worry is the interest we pay on a debt that is not ours to pay. (There was no burglar in the kitchen). Sometimes, when bad things happen, our feelings get mixed up. We are very sad and this sadness can morph into too much fear. They say time heals all wounds. It doesn’t. But over time, life has a way of working most things out. Be patient. It doesn’t hurt to have a baseball bat handy, but laugh, don’t cry, when the burglar meows.
Mary Ellen Hall - June 16, 2017 10:01 pm
BEAUTIFUL SEAN, I can MOST DEFINITELY use this advise also-THANK YOU!!!
Jon Dragonfly - June 17, 2017 4:56 am
Sean is right. It helps to have someone else carry some of your fears and burdens.
They are old and a bit stooped, but my shoulders are still broad enough to heft a bit more. So, let me shoulder and share your fear. Let me carry some of that burden. Know that Sean and all of his friends are helping lift you up. You will never meet me, but tomorrow, when you go outside, watch for a dragonfly. He is there to remind you that I am here and praying with you. Listen for the mockingbird singing. He is bringing our love to you. You are loved. You are loved.
Evelyn McDowell - June 17, 2017 2:46 pm
For 82 years I have been afraid of something “Not be accepted by others, Looking weird, Saying the wrong thing, Getting the new promotion, etc.”you are always afraid of something that is life. When you finally come to the realization it is all in the domain of one higher than we are & it is His Will we are to fit into, you truly have someone to go to, lean on, confide in,trust with everything concerning you, then fear is not such a important issue. (it took me a long time to acknowledge this) Thank You Sean for being you.
Belinda Strickland - August 11, 2017 10:10 am
The Bible says ” Do not fear” 365 times, one for every day. That doesn’t mean we won’t experience the emotion, only that when we walk through those valleys,God promises to be with us. Always. He is what strengthens our hearts and makes us brave enough to be a young boy and to go into the unknown with our Louisville Slugger. And you know what, when we face it with Him , the next time – and there WILL be a next time- you suddenly realize you are not alone and never have been.
Sandra Lee Van Dam - June 17, 2017 10:09 pm
Lisa - June 19, 2017 11:59 am
Sweet Jesus! Where do those words come from? Every. Single. Day.
Ben smith - August 11, 2017 10:41 am
Awesome. That’s a fact.
James willis - August 12, 2017 11:40 pm
We all had our demons as children mine was a mother who worked shifts and a daddy who was mean when he drank to much.i used to think how great how it would be if I had a family like father knows best or Donna reed or leave it to beaver,but one thing I learned was that was the kind of life I would give my kids when I got married if your daddy is a drinker and mean that doesn’t mean you have to be like him