It was a place of beautiful jungles and waterfalls, of unexpected wonders and things I had never seen before.
I had a guide and he began to tell me all about the place, how to get along and do well.
Then he told me about the snakes. He said that there were many in this new land.
I felt a chill. I am so terrified of snakes.
He told me "The snakes here are different. When you come upon them they don't just slither away, they stand up on their tails - so high that their eyes are level with your own and you can see their fangs clearly and their tongues flickering."
I paled and wanted to run.
"There is no problem" he said " This is just the way things work here. If you look straight back into their eyes, standing tall, they will understand you wish to pass and then they will turn, lie down, and slither away."
"But this feels unbearable to me!" I cried "I love this beautiful land but I am so frightened of the snakes! I don't know if my legs will hold me. I know that I will want to turn and run every time I see a snake!"
My guide gently taught me some more of the ways of the snake:
"This running in terror is the most dangerous thing you can do" he spoke " This gives the snake power and makes them able to attack you. As soon as you turn and run they can chase you and bite you. The only way through the wonders of this beautiful jungle is to look the snakes in the eye."
I awoke, pondering how I often I turn and run from my fears. Instead of standing tall, staying in my body and facing the things I fear the most; I panic, I run, I give my fear power over me and my direction.
God's beauty surrounds me always - but in a week full of fears realised and many more approaching its easy to loose sight of this. I can not feel the beauty unless I am willing to let my fear overwhelm me. In order to move freely and drink in the wonder of the world, I must look my fear in the eye, to know it and taste, and finally watch it dissolve.
|Illustration by Eloisa|