Fireflies in the Darkness
I need to explain the source of my hyper-politicism and more than usually curmudgeonly language. It's called Prednisone. I am tapering off the steroid, but it's not yet gone from my system and my nerves are still buzzing and snapping -- fireflies in the darkness.
My deepest desire has always been to live as large as life. I harbor no thoughts of being larger than life, or a retiring soul, complacent in a tiny corner of my appointed box. I want to fit my life -- just the right size. Life, unfortunately continues to change the size of my box and even attempts to push it off the table. And, of course, there is always someone who wants to steal my box -- usually while I'm busy scoping out someone else's...
This is where my old pal, Prednisone, wants to play. The steroid is a useful, even necessary part of treatment for conditions like mine, which involve a lot of inflammation. In the hospital, bags of this stuff hang near my bed, bathing my innards with the solution. In my case, the side-effects are well known. My nerves tense and conglomerate until they are one very large nerve, and everyone gets on it. That nerve is fast and furious. Response time is zero -- too fast for me to control or even slow.
I have learned that it is not the "roid rage" that I so often hear about. My description would be roid reaction, instantaneous and not well controlled. It's the verbal outlash that you immediately regret and wish you could take back. It's the sudden, emotional reaction to something I read or hear, but it contains all the fire of a lightning strike in one uncontrollable blast. Like superelastic rubber, the harder you strike it, the harder it strikes back.
Well folks, I've been living in that box for the last couple of weeks. This morning, I took a peek over the side and saw the tracks of my big boots where I've been trampling about again. Clint Eastwood tracks were everywhere. He once said: "I tried being reasonable, I didn't like it." To those on whose toes I left Eastwood tracks: Sorry.
Perhaps Lord Byron said it best: "Man, being reasonable, must get drunk; the best of life is but intoxication." My take on that quote is that life itself is intoxicating -- get drunk on life.
Secrets and Fears
I must not forget the secret side-effect of such steroids: Fear. Death-cold, goosebump inducing, "someone just walked on your grave" grade fear often accompanies such treatments. I've experienced night terrors that I swear loosened the connecting tissues to my bones and apparitions that made my soul shudder. However, once you've faced death for real and found Faith as your armor, you breathe easier for you never feel alone.
One must understand fear: It walks through walls, be they emotional walls, rock walls, or border walls -- walls do not stop fear. Fear lives only in your mind, you cannot buy it off and you cannot legislate it away -- and yet, you can share it with those ready to accept it. Like fire, it feeds and propagates. You cannot control fear or save it or box it up for later, but you can generate it as terror.
How do I deal with fear?
Prayer is essential. Trust me, it helps. And I add in one kinda strange exercise I learned while reading a science fiction classic: Dune by Frank Herbert. In Dune, a group called the Bene Gesserit recite a Litany Against Fear. I find it's imagery poignant and exactly what I need. Two versions appear in Dune, with minor differences. This is the Gom-Jabbar version:
Litany Against Fear
I must not fear.
Fear is the mind-killer.
Fear is the little-death that brings total obliteration.
I will face my fear.
I will permit it to pass over me and through me.
And when it has gone past I will turn the inner eye to see its path.
Where the fear has gone there will be nothing.
Only I will remain.
Thanks for reading along. Stay safe and free of fear.