There is nothing to fear...

To answer your questions:

When I'm talking about taxes I'm talking about tax forms and receipts for the non-profit I work for, not my personal taxes, which is why it takes me a long time, every January (should be January- this year it snuck into February). It's actually not really that hard, just time-consuming and not my favorite snack.

And pictures, well... erm, pictures. I am ashamed to say that we ran out the door so fast that we didn't actually get any pictures, so I will have to stage a costume re-enactment. Which shouldn't be too hard, since they are, you know, costumes. What kid doesn't love a costume? YaYa wore her cape all day yesterday.

And oh, by the way, the two most recent posts on the Burkina Faso trip are here and here.

So, I feel the need for some therapeutic writing. Bear with me. I have issues, as we always liked to say in my community. My friend would always say, "Graaaaave issues." Or, if someone was being all nuts or whatever, we would say, "I-shhues," because banter makes everything better.

But anyways. Oh dear, where do I begin?

I am afraid.

What I am afraid of, is people. I may have told you this before. '

Let me tell you what I am not afraid of. I am not afraid to travel. I am not afraid to meet a hundred new people in Burkina Faso and spend five days with them and attempt to make myself understood in a language I don't speak.

I am not afraid of flying, I am not afraid of new and foreign food. I am not afraid of germs and sickness.

But I am deeply afraid of my responsibility toward people. I am afraid that people will ask more of me than I can give, and I will inevitably disappoint. This is a debilitating fear, when you live with the values and convictions and life work that I do.

Lately I've been living without this fear. It has felt very freeing, and I've been able to relax a little, pursue some interests, settle into myself, figure out what I really want out of life, and begin to make plans for projects and receive a slight hint of our future direction.

The difference has been that I am not doing what I normally do, which is accepting the stranger, offering hospitality, offering help to weary travelers.

Don't get me wrong. It is all I want to do with my life. But it fills me with fear.

I realized that it still lives with me, slightly buried under an outer peace, last night. Someone who needed some help and friends to meet with called us up and asked if we could get together. We said "Of course!" and set up a time to have her over. And she was wonderful. It was a beautiful night, and we talked for hours, and we prayed together, and it was good.

And still? And still.

At the end of the night I was left questioning whether I had been enough, had done enough, whether I had disappointed. My fear was so great that my shoulders were hanging up by my ears, where they had been edging all evening, and my Superstar Husband was forced to sing me a little song about how I did a good job, to make me smile again.

It is a scenario that is all too common in my life.

Maybe it was exaggerated by the fact that I have been so alone, lately. (Not that I necessarily even want to be alone, I mostly want to be with people that I have deemed "safe". They are the ones that I know won't ask more of me than I am able to give.) People have tried to help and have asked me what I thought would "happen", if I disappointed people. I have no answers for a question like that. It has nothing to do with what will "happen". This anxiety is so deep rooted that I have no idea where the root lies. It really makes no sense. But it is still there.
But it made me fear the future, a little, which is never a good thing. Sometimes, someone with my temperament, my particular social anxiety, may retreat and just be an artist and a writer for a living. I've always known that this is not for me.

But, I realized, last night, that I am moving to India. Land of need. And there needs to be some kind of adjustment, man, some kind of healing, some kind of miracle.

Or maybe just day by day I will be moving through this incredible crippling fear, the fear that makes me dread the phone, the fear that makes me ask my husband to talk to people for me, and I will bit by bit overcome it, with the help of songs, with the help of a few inner prompts (sometimes I have to ask myself what I would tell someone in my situation) and with the help of Jesus, who is fairer, who is purer than every beautiful thing I have ever seen.

He is much more tender with me than I am with myself.