Wednesday, August 27, 2008


My sweetie had her annual physical today. She came home relieved. Here’s why: she’d spent the previous two nights up—fretting. Turning small, aging irritations into mega, aging nightmares. An ache here, a pain there. You know the kind I mean.

In her defense, she’d just spent ten days with her nonagenarian parental unit—and aging though they are, grace on that front seems sadly lacking. At just shy of 60, my spouse is looking at her beliefs about aging. Aren’t we all?

Well, her annual doctor’s visit was to our primary care physician, and care, in her case, is the operative word. In thirty minutes, she faced and calmed Sheriden’s fears. She was a voice of authority over fear and that voice overrode the night frets. Thanks, Doc!

Yesterday a friend called, a cancer survivor, who had convinced herself that she was, once again, riddled with cancer. Feeling sustained tension over more than a few weeks, she reached out for a voice of authority over fear. In this case, it turned out to be mine. I talked her down from the tree limb she’d unwittingly scaled.

There were all sorts of logical reasons for what she was feeling, things that her fear hadn’t let her consider. Fear—so inconsiderate sometimes! We also made a plan that if her symptoms weren’t gone in a month, she’d get a medical opinion. The point is: my friend needed a voice outside herself to speak back to fear enough so she could get her own bearings again. So did my sweetie.

Every once in a while we all need someone to face and speak back to the fear that riding roughshod over our spirits. We need a voice of authority to wrangle the fear so that we ourselves can face what’s really going on.

That’s the kind of friends I have, and I hope with all my heart that you do, too.

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