It was fall of 2008. I was in my kitchen, boiling some eggs when I heard the voices.
Squawk. Tuck, tuck, tuck. Squawk.
At first, I assumed they were coming from the outside. I was living in a home on the edge of a mountain (uh, in Wisconsin), so the sound of farm animals was not unusual.
But then I listened closer and realized without a doubt, these voices were in the house.
Squawk. Tuck, tuck, tuck. Squawk.
My heart sank and my stomach turned. I stared at the pot of boiling water… could it be? No…
I am an animal lover. But I love food. I can eat meat and poultry as long as I don’t let my mind consider the source. Yeah, call me a hypocrite but I can’t control my emotions- or my stomach. I’ll cry at seeing a cow smacked on the rear but yet will drool over a delicious, juicy, perfectly seared steak. (I can also dominate a game of Big Buck Hunter like no other but will cry watching Bambi.)
Sue me for being conflicted. That’s naturally who I am.
I quickly turned off the stove and watched the flames disappear into the burners. My heart was beating fast as “murderer” was being screamed from the dark walls of my mind and random figures were protesting with poster boards that had the same word dripping in red blood (ya’ll, my mind is one scary place). Do I even want to know? What are the chances of it still being alive? Could I witness the reality of the dreadful image my mind designed of what could possibly be stuck in one of the shells? Is it now too badly burned to survive?
With my hand shaking, I took the pot to the sink and ran the cold water over the eggs. One by one, with dread filling the pit of my stomach, crack, crack, crack… I opened them up.
Hardened yolks. No chicks.
Yet the voices had stopped.
But it was enough for me to become a vegan for 5 weeks.
And even to this day, like yesterday when my husband asked me to boil eggs for him, my mind instantly returns to that day in the kitchen when I thought I was burning a little yellow, fluffy chick. Every single time I crack an egg, I hold my breath for a moment as the yolk is released.
I now have a crazy fear of boiling and cracking eggs. All because of one afternoon 8 years ago.
Give me the science, send me the articles, tell me how ignorant I’m being… you’re wasting your energy because it still won’t drive out the fear. My mind has seized that memory and tied it into an emotion that will cling on, like a starving bear to a fish, sinking it’s teeth in me once I’ve been caught, which I have been.
Fears are crazy, stupid things. Sometimes they appear out of nowhere from imaginative environmental stimuli. They display the persuasive power of our minds as our whole bodies can instantly become paralyzed at not something actually occurring, but rather our imaginations creating the image of a possibility that something could occur. (What??)
As I’ve gotten older, my bank of irrational fears has grown. It’s as though they gain interest and multiply. I am rich in irrational fears. And I hate it– oh, do I hate it. Especially when I think about how poor I was 8+ years ago, and how much I truly lived life during those times.
Becoming a mom made it worse. When they say you become richer in love, they definitely leave out the richer in fears portion as well. The places my mind will wander in effort (and without effort too) to be proactive when it comes to the safety of my son is unreal. Dark alleys with suspicious shadows, fighting evil left and right, throwing cars around with my pinky, flying through the air to get to the danger in time… I’m like a damn badass superhero. Or at least in my mind that entertains all these fears, I am.
So many irrational fears.
But… (always a but…), the thing about irrational fears is… they can turn rational. Every single day they are at risk. Like becoming a Walking Dead walker, they can turn. It’s as simple as something you’ve once thought of or heard about on the news suddenly becoming real… real because it happens to you.
However, fear- no matter rational or irrational- is a trap. If you let it win, this life can easily slide by without any true rewards and the pure joy that comes from them. You will want to stay locked up forever. You couldn’t go outside because the sun could give you skin cancer, or some bad person will shoot you for no reason or a good person will shoot you by accident, or you’ll be stung a million times by wasps… but you can’t stay inside because a car could run through your wall, a sinkhole may swallow your home completely, or a gas leak could cause an explosion. Basically, there’s no where to go, no one to trust, and nothing good that can occur when fear wins.
Every single day I’m learning how to combat these fears. And I’ve realized there’s only one weapon that cuts through them: trust.
Someone knows what they’re doing with the eggs; I’m not going to burn any chicks that have yet to crack through the shells. I’d miss out on some of my favorite meals if I had let that fear win. Someone knows what they’re doing with me too; and there’s not going to be anything that happens in my life that wasn’t designed with a purpose. I don’t want to miss out on anything meant for me because fear held me back.
Trust. In Him. (Not the egg; in God.)
My husband’s boiled egg. Worth every fear.