I am a fearful person. I can fake it pretty well, and I act confident much of the time. I’m usually able to engineer circumstances so I’m taking as little risk as possible. But at the core of it, I’m a trembly mess.
Add to this an over-active imagination, and you have a recipe for some very vivid, irrational fears. Think "Ally McBeal", except without the law degree, tiny waist, pouty lips and dancing baby.
Scratch that, I even have the dancing baby. She’s sleeping upstairs in pwincess pajamas.
I’ve learned to cope with this over the years by verbalizing these fears (usually to Hubs, the poor man), and then I can see how ridiculous they are. We get a good laugh out of it.
As you might imagine, this Africa trip has kicked my imagination into overdrive.
What if we’re driving toward a village miles across the desert and our jeep breaks down and we’re kidnapped by a band of marauders (do they really have bands of marauders these days?) and we’re headed to their village but are intercepted by a hungry horde (troop? tribe?) of elephants and I am trampled to death, with my last thoughts being the looks in my children’s eyes?
And that’s on the good days.
There are plenty of fantasies involving the plane trip, as well. I’d rather not even verbalize those, if you don’t mind, but they generally involving plunging from the sky in a fiery ball of death toward the Atlantic ocean.
When I spoke about not being the adventure sort, I wasn’t lying. And I do not mean to make light of Africa or the people that work there, or the people who are facing their mortality in more serious and immediate ways. I know my fears are silly in the grand scheme of things. But to me, they’re a real stumbling block.
The other night Hubs and I had a real-live honest-to-goodness date, and it ended where all truly fantastic and passionate dates do: walking the aisle of Wal Mart Supercenter, hand-in-hand, picking up some Pull-Ups on the way home.
As we walked through the baby section, we passed the little girls’ pajamas.
"See?!" I said suddenly. "This is what I mean."
"What?" Hubs said.
"If I die in Africa, how will you know that Corrie prefers gowns to pajamas, but it’s hard to find gowns anymore, so when you do find one in her size, you need to go ahead and buy it."
I am sure this is a date that will live in his sweetest memories for a long time.
"Well," said my rational man, "first of all, you’re not going to die in Africa. Second of all, if you did, pajamas would be at the bottom of my list of concerns. And third, ultimately we’d just manage."
"But life would be very, very hard for you, wouldn’t it? You’d barely be able to go on, right?"
"I’d be a shell of a man," he assured me.
I was satisfied for a moment, and we continued our shopping–until something else spurred my thoughts.
"I know I always tease you for watching those survival shows, but what if I get stranded on the plains of Africa and I have to actually implement some of those awful Bear Grylls techniques? Wouldn’t that just be so ironic?" [Nervous laugh].
In a moment of sudden seriousness he looked me square in the eye. "If you get stranded on the plains of Africa, I will come for you. I will find you."
I think I need to go kiss that man again.
The truth is, I know that this trip is not about me–not at all. It’s entirely about those sweet African children, and doing whatever we can to gain more sponsorships to improve their situation.
But as it often happens, God is using a primary thing to work a secondary purpose in my heart. It’s like he’s grabbed my brain and is wringing it until all the fearfulness has bubbled up to the surface. It’s ugly. It’s even funny. But it’s terribly necessary.
Many of you asked how you can pray for us. Of course, pray for the kids of Uganda, and that hearts all over the place will be opening up to sponsor one. But if you think of it, pray that this silly housewife will learn a thing or two about stepping out–really stepping out–to trust in God’s plan. Marauders, elephants, and all.