The Fear Factor

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.