Monday, October 31, 2011

The Hero Behind the Mask

Courtesy M. Horrocks

He has worn his mask of bravery much too well. The list of fears he harbors came tumbling out quite unexpectedly. He got them honest. He is, you know, the son of a fraidy cat. He's a survivor. He's proven that fact in the way he survived being ostracized and bullied. It has been a close call. I'm not sure we dodged the bullet completely nor am I sure how the scars will continue to manifest themselves. We are watchful...with a vengeance.

His familiar, sunny persona is returning bit by bit. The surly, snarling kid who fell apart at the drop of a hat has faded. Hopefully, the day will come when that era is a distant, foggy memory. He still struggles sometimes. Mostly, the danger zone is after 9p at night. Maybe he's too tired or hasn't had enough to eat that day to fill up that 6 ft tall, and getting taller, body. Maybe vague hunger leaves him disposed to those moments of frantic anxiety. I haven't quite figured out the trigger, only the most sensitive time of day.

Scary Critters
We are learning how to deflect the moments of despair and move him past them more quickly. Some times are harder than others. His Aspie nature makes communication more cumbersome and often frustrates both our efforts in moments of stress. Still we persevere....with a vengeance.

The weight of the world began to slip off his shoulders as the list grew and grew. This 6 ft tall man-child who seems fearless in all he embraces had, unbeknownst to us, done so many things all while paralyzed with fear.

He and his dad went to an outdoor concert at the state fair while I was in New Mexico. We had no idea. He was afraid that the tickets they had printed online would not be readable which would in turn block their entry. If they accomplished their entrance into the concert venue, he was afraid the stage might collapse.

The list of things he had dealt with internally, while bravely forging ahead despite his fears, went on and on. I sat amazed as he described his quiet battle to beat back the fear. I thought of the many times since he's been born when I have hidden my own fear while tackling the things in life that seem mundane to others. I have done so with a vengeance.

Courtesy M. Horrocks
I remember the times I saddled the 3 of us up to spend days at the local theme park when the boys were 2 and 9. Having spent my youthful years in the cloister of the parsonage where taking too deep a breath was sinful, I had not ventured out into the world prior to reaching adulthood. Even then, venturing came slowly for fear of the vast unknown.

I remember my mom's gasp of amazement when I told her we were spending 4 or 5 days a week whiling away our summer splashing in the water park waves. It would have been unthinkable for her to tackle the just the local neighborhood pool when I was little. Confirmed fraidy cats from a lineage of fraidy cats do not make such waves much less escape their roots. And yet, I had.

Courtesy M. Horrocks
I wonder where he is headed this brave, determined 2nd son of mine. His brother has gone ahead of me and forged a path farther afield into this world that terrifies me. If I have been able to plant the seed of freedom, perhaps Son #1 is the water that will bring the seed to harvest?

Is my graduation day on the horizon? When I walk across the stage of life, will the snapshots in time trace the arduous effort I made to overcome who I am so that they can be more than I was or ever hoped to be? Will the world become their home because I set aside my own fears, as much as I could when I could, to unlock the cages of life? Oh, tell me it is so. Tell me.

Tonight....I am not where I would rather be. The concert venue upstairs is pounding out a beat so ferocious that the venue owner is constantly rearranging inventory behind the coffee bar. Otherwise, the drum beats would send it all crashing to the floor. Son of a fraidy cat is in his a patron...tomorrow a musician on the stage. Every little step we take out into this scary world is a victory. Fly, son of a fraidy cat, fly. The world is waiting, and it is yours. 
Courtesy Mad Penguin Creaive

Psalm 37:23 (Bible in Basic English)
The steps of a good man are ordered by the Lord, and he takes delight in his way.


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