What are you afraid of?
You know.. the kind of fear that makes your legs turn to jelly, drains the blood from your face, and sends your heart on a bungee jump to the pit of your stomach.
There are many scary things in the world. But only two make me lose all sense of logic, strength and composure. Just two things make me want to yell, "I want my mommy!"
I stared both of those fears in the face this week. Tuesday morning, I sat in the dentist's chair. Actually, I cowered in the dentist's chair. Yes, I know technology has improved and dentistry is not as painful as it was when I was 5 years old and some crotchety old-man dentist gave me a shot with a needle as big around as a garden hose. But it smells the same. And it sounds the same. And that creepy bluish light that shines in your eyes looks the same.
And it's scary.
As my dentist and I discussed upcoming work on my teeth, I tried to explain my fear. "I'm really only afraid of two things," I mumbled as those sharp pokey-things probed my teeth. "You... and lightning. And, sometimes I think I'd rather encounter lightning!"
Probably shouldn't have said that.
Because just a few short hours later, while taking a lazy tube ride down Coldwater Creek in the beautiful woods of northwest Florida, one of those late afternoon thunderstorms came out of nowhere. The rain was so heavy and hard I could hardly see the other tube riders. The sky turned dark with the only real light coming from... you guessed it... huge bolts of lightning going "snap, crackle, pop" all around us, followed by the biggest, meanest crashes of thunder I have ever heard.
We had nowhere to go, nowhere to run, nowhere to hide. It was impossible to get out of the creek at this juncture. We had no choice but to stay in the water, completely unprotected, and ferociously paddle our way back to the camp. And so we did.
I yelled every time a bolt of lightning flashed and sometimes those bolts were so close I could feel the hair stand up on the back of my neck. I prayed. I prayed hard. And loudly. I sang "Jesus loves me, this I know..." over and over and over again. And, He must. Because after 15 minutes of sheer terror, we rounded a bend and realized we were back at the camp.
Yes, there are a lot of scary things in the world. Many of them we can protect against. When you are on the water... no, when you are IN the water with no way out... and lightning is hitting all around you, there is no protection. Just sheer force of will to try and paddle your way out of the danger... and in my case, a strong faith that says "I don't want to die, but if I do... please make my trip to Heaven quick and painless!"
And that's the way I hope my dental appointment goes next week..
Quick. And painless.
But even if it doesn't, I'll paddle my way through it. And I'll remind myself that I'll take the pain of needles and the scary sound of a dentist drill over the snap, crackle, pop of lightning any day!