To tell you the absolute truth, I was not afraid I would die; I was afraid I would be damaged.
Prepping for a colonoscopy, going into the hospital, being put under, being told of what was found: each of these caused concern for me.
And if you’ve been reading along, you know my anxiety with the process. You heard of my fear of growing old and my anxiousness over fasting. But the root of that anxiety isn’t really about growing old or even dying. It is something more difficult.
Since I was in the 5th grade, I have been hypoglycemic. I try to stay away from sugar, eat regularly, and get enough protein in my diet. I’ve tried to fast before and found myself so uncomfortable that I feared for my health. To go a whole day, then try to sleep on an empty stomach, seemed daunting and a little dangerous.
The fear is diabetes. I have been told many times by doctors that I must monitor myself and my intake. How my health is dependent on my behavior. The onus is on me. To then be put into a situation in which I would never put myself, to risk an entire day of not eating, made me incredibly anxious.
The second fear, the fear of what would be found, is the more tantalizing fear, psychologically. The more obvious, deeper fear. The fear of the unknown. The fear of my own mortality. That I would be afraid to hear the word cancer come from the doctor’s lips. So 20th Century.
For me, though, it is different.
These two–diabetes and cancer–don’t form for me a link toward death. Or at least, it isn’t the fear of dying that caused my anxiety. It is that neither would kill me tomorrow. Or the next day. Either would kill me out there in the future somewhere, after wrecking my body and causing fundamental life changes. No, I was afraid to be broken.
Or worse, find out I already was.
To be broken, or to be seen as one who is broken, is as hard for us as any Pharisee.
To be broken is not successful, Western, 20th-Century-style.
To be broken is to be imperfect, not ideal, not the one. And we so want to be the one.
For us, then, and for me, my compulsion is this:
is hurting, abusing.
To be judged.
is being hurt, abused.
Our (my) way–the subtext of our lives. To name what’s broken. To despise it. To seek to fix it. To punish it.
Which leads me to the inevitable question:
Was I most afraid then that I would judge myself? To not only be revealed to be broken, as if the harshest critics are out there somewhere, but be revealed to myself?
Or worse, that my brokenness has nothing to do with disease? That I, as I am, am broken.
And in facing that fear, will I discover the true beauty that brokenness offers?