I have several irrational fears. I’m not talking about a fear of heights or snakes- I’m talking about real fear of things that don’t have nearly the same kind of potential to cause any harm. I have overcome one, at least 37 more to go.
One evening, a few weeks ago, Jake was gone for work and I was sitting on our bed, folding laundry. That’s when I saw it. It darted out from under my bed and behind the chest of drawers so quickly that my mind almost denied it. Did a mouse just run across the floor?!
Apparently since we live out in the country now and our house isn’t on a slab, this was bound to happen at some point. I, however, was unaware of this fact. And somehow I had completely missed the “there is a small mouse in our house” experience in all of my 25 years of life thus far. My brother in law kindly came over, mousetrap and broomstick in hand to take care of the situation.
This is Zac. I was actually hoping for something more like this, but I was happy to see him with that broomstick.
He chased the mouse around my bedroom and right into the kitchen where the mouse disappeared. My heart sank. “This can’t be happening. Please tell me it is gone for forever.”
My kitchen Island, where things got crazy.
After checking behind all of my appliances, Zac said that he thought I would be fine for the night and that he was going home. I communicated a panicked “please don’t leave me”, complete with crazy eyes and a quivering lip. At this, he literally pulled my dishwasher out of the island. There he found a hole that was drilled and then left unused, leaving a small space for Stuart Little to let himself right on in. (‘Preciate ya, island builder-man/ plumber– NOT!) Zac plugged the hole, left a mouse trap in the space, put the dishwasher back in place, and assured me that he was certain that the mouse had left through that very hole and I could rest easy. I hesitantly decided not to hold him at gunpoint there with me until Jake came home the next morning. Just kidding!—sort of. I let him go home and went to bed to have sweet, sweet nightmares about mice attacking me in the night.
My eyes popped open around 3:30 am. I heard some sort of weird scratching sound and I knew immediately what it was. I sat straight up to see it, right there in my bathroom, literally trying to scratch his way up my cabinet. This mouse was literally ninja crawling in the small space between the cabinet and bathtub. Paralyzing fear overcame me. And by paralyzing fear I mean sweaty palms, racing heart, loud drumming in my ears, “WHAT AM I GOING TO DO TO SURVIVE THIS” kind of fear. I sat there and watched him for four, yes, FOUR long, agonizing hours of sheer panic and aloneness. By morning I was a wild eyed, exhausted, hysterical ball of frayed nerves. Of course when the sun came up, the little rat disappeared again. He was slow playing me.
(I couldn’t even make this stuff up if I wanted to.)
Jake came home with 12 mouse traps. TWELVE. That’s about one mousetrap for every hundred squarefeet of our house. He was determined to kill the mouse that very day and I was determined that we needed to move. Just kidding.
We went to church, came home, no mouse.
We went to my parents, came home, no mouse.
We went to our House Church, came home, no mouse.
We went over to his parents, came home, no mouse.
That night, after putting our kids down, I sat in the bathtub trying to calm my nerves and come to terms with the fact that I was going to sleep going to be up all night with a mouse hiding somewhere in my home. And then something caught my eye. There it was, there with me in the bathroom, scratching at the shower door. I screamed for Jake and he came running (literally) with bb gun in hand. One shot and the mouse was down. I am trying to remember another time when that kind of relief has flooded me.
I slept great that night, right? Wrong. For days weeks I left lights on at night, nervously checked behind doors and furniture constantly, wanted to spend the night with my parents when Jake was gone, etc. It was pathetic. And yes, I’m embarrassed about it now.
But, one day it hit me. This fear was irrational. I mean, I’ll never be excited or even comfortable with the fact that a mouse could reinvade my home, but I can’t let the fear of that keep me from doing things that I should in my own home, like walking barefooted at night, or letting my kids sleep in their own beds.
More real and more damaging irrational fears that I have come from insecurities that I have about myself, mostly born out of what I think others will think. These are things like not inviting that new couple from church over to my house because I live in a tiny house and they don’t. Am I really that afraid of what someone would think about me because of that?
I have kept from resolving issues with someone out of fear that I could make things worse with my sometimes not so eloquent wording.
I have before kept myself from things like teaching a Sunday school class because I was afraid of the commitment or afraid to go to an evening event because it was taking place in that weird hour before bedtime when my otherwise sweet kids often turn into whiney nut cases. I mean, I can’t let people see my kids have a meltdown, right?
I am resolving to overcome lots of these not so little irrational fears that have the potential to keep me from being who I am or who I should be.
I’m keeping my irrational fear of Sunday School classroom germs, though. ; )