A few weekends ago, back in early April, I lost heaviness.
Not heaviness in the physical, literal sense. Not weight in the physical sense—in fact, I ate my way through the Gateway to the West. I lost heaviness that was gripping my heart due to fear.
I had the distinct pleasure of road tripping to St. Louis with some of my wonderful friends to see them run a marathon. Within five minutes of watching people run 26.2 miles, I was reduced to tears. As a runner (who cannot wrap my brain around running 26.2 miles), there’s something so beautiful and unifying about running. It’s raw and difficult and not very poetic when you’re the one pushing your body to its brink (for me, that would probably be about mile 5…I am weak). But when you’re the one watching people pushing their minds and bodies past the point of medical recommendation and extend into a pure spiritual territory, it’s amazing. A running mother stopped to hug her baby and husband on the sideline; an adorable nun was holding a sign that read “Go Sr. Liz;” two women who had travelled a great distance to see loved ones running hugged me after I helped them track their runners’ pace so that they’d be able to see them at mile nine.
A few days before I went to St. Louis, a beloved member of my high school community—a friend, son, theater teacher, includer, among other rolls he played—passed away suddenly, shockingly, and in a devastating situation. Hearts ached and heaviness settled. I experienced the sobering nature of death and a sense of fear that unsettled me; suddenly the rhythm of the universe seemed more negatively unpredictable. I worried about leaving my school to drive in the car to St. Louis. What if something happened unexpectedly? I kicked myself for being irrational and I went anyway, despite the worry that my mind had created.
Worry, while sometimes inevitable, is such a heavy weight. And it’s not a weight that you build muscle from or get stronger by; it simply drains energy that could be used in more positive capacities.
Yes, death is sobering and fear is paralytic. However I’d like to think of it as a frozen thing, and frozen things can always be melted. Sometimes our fear freezes us like icebergs, which take time and patience to melt away (NOT saying I want our icebergs to melt!!! Reduce, reuse, recycle, people!!!). And sometimes fear freezes us like the popsicles I sell in the summer, which melt quite easily and will definitely not last the drive home to northern Carmel on a hot day without melting all over your car.
Faith, on the other hand, is warm. It’s what eventually melts those “icebergs.”
It sounds dramatic and irrational be afraid of something bad happening, but I couldn’t shake the ominous fear leading up to the weekend before going to St. Louis. I thankfully swallowed my doubt with a spoonful of faith. Surrounded by some of my best friends, exploring a new, beautiful city, watching people have faith in themselves by running 26.2 miles, I started to feel that fear melt. The weight of worry lifted and positive energy took its place.
We wouldn’t run a marathon with unnecessary weights strapped on our shoulders, so why would I run through this life with the unnecessary weight of my own fears?
It can be tough to find a way to give up that weight, but I have a feeling that God can bench press all the fears and worries of the world without breaking a sweat.
P.S. Ben Howard has a very topical song called, “The Fear,” that you may want to listen to if this resonated with you at all.