My heart was pounding furiously, my limbs tense and waiting, as I slowly placed the headphones over my ears. Carefully, I slid deeper into the cave I had created with blankets and pillows, hiding alone in my locked room with a chair propped against the door. I was ready.
My sweaty palms held the Walkman as if it was a grenade. I pressed play and waited to be blown to bits.
* * *
Recently, I had a discussion with a group of amazing young women about the concepts of fear vs. love in serving G-d. I’m all for love, but the one point I had to bring was the incentives that fear gives a person.
Growing up in a religious home, I was given the experience of fearing G-d so that it was second nature to me. I knew that G-d was everywhere, could see into my thoughts and feelings, and that I wouldn’t be able to hide anything from Him. At a certain point in my childhood, I thought that G-d had seen more than enough and must hate me. I grew a bit bolder and decided to give Him a show that would seal the deal and send me straight to hell where I undoubtedly belonged, hence the Friday Night Musical Nightmare.
Breaking Shabbos in that manner was so incredibly frightening. I was absolutely confident that He was there, despite the layers, locks, and darkness. I knew Him, felt Him and was desperate to drive Him away.
But that fear….oh that fear…..
Welcoming Him back into my life was a process of love and understanding. No one wanted to remind me about fearing Him, and there was a very particular slant to all the things I was taught.
Here I am now, in love with my G-d and my life, with no clue how to think of Him as an Almighty G-d who I should be in proper awe of.
I want that fear. I need that fear.
It’s the only way I can do what I want to do even when I don’t want to do it. It’s the only way I can push myself to go out of my comfort zone, do things I don’t understand, accept reasoning beyond my scope of intelligence and make a habit of living His way all day, every day.
Trembling before G-d under my blankets when I was twelve years old is the closest I ever really got to acknowledging His absolute sovereignty.
And I’ll never get it back.
9 thoughts on “The Fear Factor”
Why do i always get chills in my legs and back when i read your posts? Can you puleeze start publishing some of your writings?
i’ll take that as a compliment…if you mean publishing for pay – great idea. how can you help get that going?;)
i definitely meant for pay! would you try one of the jewish magazines out there? i was part of a wriitng workshop, published some of my stuff. i have email addresses and contact info if you’d like to submit any of your writings. your essays are so frightening real and compelling. i think many ppl can relate to what you say.
I dunno – maybe loving god trumps following him out of fear? I mean it’s got to mean more when it comes from love than simply cause you are afraid of retribution?
And anon – isn’t that what she’s doing now? Publishing her writings?
there’s an aspect of fear that i think is important – it’s knowing that there are consequences and understanding the severity of your actions. love is a method of accepting god and agreeing to follow him, but the the fear is the part that accepts his authority. and i do think love should be the base…and the meaning more aspect, well that’s a really big discussion…
anon – i have tried that route but the response was that my style is not what they’re looking for. but you can send me that info and i can always try again.
what’s ur email address?
so raw and real. thank you.