Published in the Rains County Leader on May 12, 2020:
Has anyone ever asked you if you’re afraid of death? I think all of us have dealt with that question at some time in our lives, even if it was only in our own minds. My stock answer has been, “I’m not afraid of dying, but I don’t look forward to the process.” Twice in my life I’ve had a chance to test the validity of that answer, and I’d say it pretty much passed the test.
The first incident happened about fifteen years ago while we were living in Florida. I woke up around 4:00 am feeling really odd. There was no pain, but I felt as if someone was doing a very uncoordinated tap dance in my chest. David was dabbling in currency trading at that time and often rose very early to check the foreign exchanges before they closed. I lay in the darkness for a while, taking a mental inventory of symptoms and feelings, and finally went into the office. (more…)
Published in the Rains County Leader on May 5, 2020:
At the risk of being melodramatic, I had a momentary brush with death this week. I’m fine, but of course, I wanted to write about the experience. Before I tell you about it, though, I want to share my feelings about fear. Here’s a piece I wrote a few weeks ago; check back next week for the rest of the story. How’s that for a teaser?
The first time I remember being scared of an apocalyptic event was in the late 1950s. I was in the fifth grade, and some small-time prophet predicted the end of the world. I had been in Bible-teaching churches all my life, but my Sunday School lessons hadn’t yet covered end-time prophecies. And if we had studied the part where Jesus says that no one knows the day or the hour of the end except God, I had been day-dreaming that day. For whatever reason, I lived in fear for a while, casting furtive glances into the clouds during recess until the prophesied doomsday had passed.
Since then, the world has survived many end-of-the-world predictions, from the scientific community as well as the prophetic community. According to those forecasts, we should have long since been choked to death by pollution, frozen by a new ice age, drowned by the rising oceans, fried by the loss of the ozone layer, or suffered a worse fate at the hands of an angry God. There were also wars in Vietnam, the Persian Gulf, Afghanistan, and Iraq as well as epidemics like the Asian Flu, Hong Kong Flu, HIV/AIDS, SARS, Ebola, Swine Flu (H1N1), and whatever new type of flu that was impervious to the previous year’s vaccine. (more…)
Published in the Rains County Leader on February 25, 2020:
First, let me say this column is not about the Jack London novel or the new Harrison Ford movie. It’s sort of about a dog, but it mostly about me being a fraidy-cat.
This week David and I are visiting with Spike, our occasional canine son, while his people visit the Holy Land. Their flight was a late one, so the plan was for Spike to have his supper before they left and stay in the house until we arrived after Home Group was over. Then, we’d walk him one more time before bedtime.
It was a good plan, but the problem was that David didn’t feel well, so he didn’t go to Home Group. That meant I had to go back home to pick him up before heading out to the ranch. These things always take longer than expected, and it was late and very dark when we arrived – and the coyotes were out. (more…)
Published in the Rains County Leader on August 29, 2017:
The first time I read Gone with the Wind, I wanted to be just like Scarlett O’Hara. I conveniently overlooked the needy and manipulative parts of her personality and focused instead on her strengths. To me she was a brave southern woman who stood tall and strong in the face of all adversities and enemies. Compared to her, I had very little adversity and even fewer enemies, but I knew that, if the occasion ever arose, I would be just as brave and fierce as she was as she stared down war, poverty, and more. I was wrong. (more…)
Mom was always a fearful person. Dad worked nights several times during their 70-year marriage. She sometimes told the story of being a young bride, left alone in an isolated country house while her groom worked at the ice house every night. One evening she was awakened from a restless sleep by a terrible noise. She later described it as sounding like someone was trying to get into the house straight through the wall of her bedroom. She had no phone and no close neighbors, so she huddled in the center of the bed, trembling with fear and wondering how long she had left to live. The noise continued for a while, but when the walls didn’t splinter and the threat didn’t seem to increase, she screwed up her courage and crept outside to investigate. She slipped down the front steps and peeked around the corner, and there she saw it. An old milk cow was chewing on the grass that grew up beside the pier and beam foundation that supported the house. She laughed about it later, but she and I had a replay of sorts years later when I was in my early teens. (more…)
Today’s warning sign may be a little harder to observe than some of the other signs. Sometimes the evidence that someone is having trouble understanding visual images and spatial relationships is not as obvious as forgetting the name of a family member or thinking the year is 1985. The Alzheimer’s Association defines this warning sign as follows: (more…)
Earlier this week, I wrote about a time when my greatest fear was losing the use of my eyes or my hands. I recounted how I came to terms with that fear, but lately I’ve become aware of a new fear that is lurking around the edges of my consciousness. (more…)
I visited with Mom earlier this week. There is less of her each time I see her. I’m not talking about physical size, although she is losing weight now that she can’t feed herself and can’t graze off the plates of her tablemates, but her life is getting smaller and smaller. (more…)
Writing – How Did I Do That? | Linda Brendle
One of my recent blog posts scared me. Not the post itself, but the response. The post was about a day David and I spent on the motorcycle and the healing it brought me. I got some nice responses including the following two: (more…)
Hide and Seek is a favorite game of children. One child is designated as “It,” and while the other children run and hide, “It” stays at “base,” hides his eyes, and counts. When he reaches 30 or 50 or 100, he yells, “Ready or not, here I come.” Those few words evoke lots of emotions in the other children. If they’ve not yet found a suitable hiding place, they feel panic as they realize they’re completely exposed and in danger of being caught. If they have hidden daringly close to base, they feel a thrill of fear and excitement as they anticipate that mad dash to safety, trying to avoid being tagged. And if they found the PERFECT hiding place, they may be overcome with giggles as they realize that “It” has no chance of finding them. I don’t play Hide and Seek much anymore except with my grandchildren, but through the years I’ve encountered many situations that yell “Ready or not, here I come.” (more…)