I feel a fear creeping up on me. In the airport, TV monitors behind me blare with news of Sandy Hook. Of teachers who died trying to save their students. Of children cowering in closets. Of parents so stricken with grief they are unable to walk.
In my email, everything designed to reassure me seems to make me more afraid. Our county school system wants us to know their plan in case of attack. Our police department wants us to know that there will be more of a visible police presence at school. Our SpouseBuzz readers continue to comment that only fools fail to have guns in order to prepare for an attack. One reader wrote:
If there was one person in the school in CT. this past horrific day that had a personal carry weapon and knew how to use it-there just might have been life for a few or many of those that ended that day.
And I’m the kind of person who hears all that and feels…well, afraid. At first.
If there is one thing my military upbringing taught me is that you can’t get stuck in fear. You can’t avoid fear. The world is full of things to be afraid of, things you can’t control. You have to move through fear of every kind.
“Everything you want is on the other side of fear,” noted George Addair in one of our Military Wife Quotes.
We military families have to continuously move to the other side of fear—in our military life and in the life we live in our civilian neighborhoods. We know we must prepare the best we can and then start pushing past our fears. Past fear of combat. Past fears of separation. Past fears of unemployment and mortgages and teenage drivers. Past fears of gunmen in movie theaters and shopping malls and elementary schools.
Knowing you have to move past fear won’t stop our fears from cropping up every day. Heaven knows we are fed on a diet of horrific events and unfathomable possibilities—even though we are arguably living in the safest time in the most secure country in human history.
We spouses just keep pushing until we get to the other side of fear. We push because everything we want is just past it—lasting love, happy children, direct achievement, generous community.
On the plane I am struck by a memory of my own little Air Force mother driving across this enormous red bridge singing, “Whenever I feel afraid, I hold my head erect….”
Even from the back seat, even at five years old, I knew my mother was afraid of that kind of driving. I knew she was pushing past fear. I just didn’t know that when I grew up I would be required to do the same thing so often.