Saturday, May 21, 2011

Fear is Like Ivy - Cunning and Invasive

I love ivy, don't you?  Nothing says stately like some old mansion all adrift in layers of ivy.  Just makes you want to be rich so you can have your own ivy tumbling all over itself like dollar bills spilled out of an armored car.

Today, I discovered I like your ivy--not mine.  I spent the better part of the afternoon yanking and clipping away at the ivy threatening to take over my house.  Between spending most of 5 mo in a wheelchair/walker and almost 3 more watching over my mom in a long term ICU unit, I had almost forgotten that I had any ivy. We got reacquainted again today.  It was not pretty.

It took me almost an hour to uncover that trellis. Those sneaky little tendrils had latched on to my screens and started making their way up to the roof. My  porch used to be tranquil and mosquito free. That ivy may as well have opened up the screens and screamed, "Come on in boys, the eatin's fine!"  as it forced its way between the mesh and wedged itself into my turf.

If you've never had the joy of going to war with ivy, let me give you the 411.  That stuff can grow for YARDS without any evidence.. Reaching for the abundant leaves at the end of a strand, you pull and pull and pull  till the sweat beads become rivers. A single strand comes up out of the dirt leading you on a wild scavenger hunt.  You follow that strand out of bushes, from the midst of liriope, out of your own back pocket, and from under the the neighbor's crawl space before you are done. A sinister laugh echoes as you keep pulling knowing the more you pull, the more you'll find to pull.

It imbeds into wood, brick, and mortar till they are fused as if God fused them at creation. When you manage to pry a tendril as big around as your thumb loose and start to pull it off the house, it starts to rain debris. Dusty, cough inducing debris.  About the time you think you are winning, it snaps off  3 feet above your head dangling just out of reach. "Whacha gonnna do now?" it mocks. 

At the point of exhaustion, I had a sudden thought.  Fear is just like ivy.  It can grow for yards without detection. Would your friends know that you are a quivering mess?  It wraps around and around and around until you can't figure out where to begin to rip it up so something else can grow.  Maybe you've carried it around for years so that you no longer know who you were without the fear. 

Eventually, ivy takes over and kills so that it can keep on growing.  I uncovered mounds of lirope that had become rusty. The ivy was slowly draining the life away from those once vibrant shade dancers. Maybe you no longer dance in the sun or shade because fear is slowly draining your life away.
Courtesy B. Creasy - 2010
No one likes to go into battle alone. I'm so thankful you've come by today. Every time I see that counter click up a notch or two, my inner fraidy cat trembles a little bit. You embolden me.  I hope the same is true for you by the time we finish our visits. Today, I overcame the fear of writing another post. Did you take a stand against your inner fraidy cat today? I'm waiting to hear. See you again sometime maybe? And bring a friend?

Deuteronomy 31: 6 (The Message)
Be strong. Take courage. Don’t be intimidated. Don’t give them a second thought because 
God, your God, is striding ahead of you. He’s right there with you. He won’t let you down; he won’t leave you.”


  1. Just want you to know that this really made me think.

  2. I also wrote another post. Actually, I wrote two! :) Love ya, Carol Anne!!

    1. Gotta write when the synapses are firing, don't we?

  3. It's funny how when you need to "hear" something, Bam! There it is!

    1. I'm so glad I was where I needed to be when I needed to be there for you, Jamie!

  4. Oh, Jamie! I'm so glad you were encouraged. I hope these thoughts stay with you and continue to do so in the days ahead!

  5. That story made me think of my grandmother.

    One time I took her to a nursery. She wandered off to look at the plants, and after a few minutes she came up and grabbed me by the arm and said, "Cissy, you will not BELIEVE what I just saw! These people are selling ivy! In a pot!"