Disastrous Turn   6 comments

I may be ready to share what has been tormenting me for the last two weeks.  I don’t know.  When I share my fears with others before I am ready, I increase my fears, but sharing my fears with others is also a big step toward releasing my fears.  So I guess I will find out how posting this will affect me.

As I climbed from our car after our accident on the 4th, I was still in shock and not thinking too clearly, but I did consider whether I should stand the pylons back up which we knocked down. I decided that I didn’t know where they should be placed, so regretfully would let the owner put them back (it was a commercial lot, and no one was there).  The next morning I called our insurance company and filled out a report online.  Some hours later a cop came to my door asking about the damage to my car. I told him the story. He said, “You know you should have completed a police report?” I responded, “I thought that if the damage is under a certain amount, that was unnecessary.” “That may be the case,” he answered, “but whenever there is property damage, a report should be filed.” I said, “I didn’t think there was any property damage.”  I called the property owner right away to apologize and called my insurance agency to report the additional claims of damage.

The upshot of it was that the trooper not only gave me a traffic ticket, but charged me with hit and run, a criminal offense (though it is a misdemeanor rather than a felony). I never could have imagined something like this happening to me. I’m a criminal. And in my current tenuous job situation I find myself, that is a pretty big mark against me if I need to find a job in the future, especially in the helping field. I have a hearing July 28, and the trial will probably be set for September. It has sent me for a huge tailspin emotionally.

Every time I hear a car door close or footsteps outside the house, every time my phone rings, every time I get in the car, my heart jumps with the fear, “The cops are after me!”  I want to catch my breath or run and hide or curl into a protective ball. This fear of impending doom is constantly twanging its chaotic tune around each daily event, and though I can soothe myself into a surface calm by focusing on the truth of God’s compassion and care, I know the least prick will bring it back full force.

The fear is much bigger than just the potential for the trial’s outcome.  Now that my life has crossed the line of the inconceivable, all future disastrous possibilities have opened before me.  It is a fear that I might at any moment, without warning, be hit by some major loss, something that tears a deep gash in my sense of worth because it was my fault… I could be fired, I could lose my house, with the best intentions I could step on a hundred legal landmines, and my apparent innocence would be meaningless.  I have this constant feeling, “What am I doing wrong?  What might happen next?”  Now that the unthinkable has happened, every catastrophe seems possible, and I have no way of protecting myself.  I know the fear will decrease with time, as it has a bit already.  But that doesn’t change my experience of today and tomorrow.

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Posted July 16, 2011 by janathangrace in Uncategorized

6 responses to “Disastrous Turn

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  1. Thank you for sharing–these are feelings I understand all too well. Years ago, we were working through an accountant to apply for 501(c)3 status for the counseling center, only the accountant dragged his feet about getting the proper paperwork filed for both federal & state, consequently we were in limbo for months while being harassed by a state revenue agent. The woman was obnoxious, calling us at home at all hours, sending letters in the mail. The feelings you are experiencing are exactly the feelings of fear & dread I felt every time the phone rang or I saw a letter from the state revenue cabinet. It ties your stomach in knots and I wondered how Christian brothers & sisters living under oppression in other countries managed to live under constant threat for their faith. (I still do.) The Lord sustained me through those days (Mike didn’t seem to be affected the same way) in a number of ways–Psalms 18 and 34 were written just for me, I think. I camped out in those verses. I did a lot of crying out for deliverance, too. And I learned to ask, what’s the worse that could happen? Follow that to its logical conclusion and you begin to realize there is nothing that could possibly happen that isn’t under God’s control or designed to bring Him glory and honor.

    We have a little dog who thinks he’s big stuff, but whenever he’s faced with what he perceives to be a bigger threat that he can’t beat, he immediately rolls on his back and surrenders. There’s something in that act of surrender that reminds me a bit of what it must be like for God to see us say, “I surrender! I can’t defend myself in the face of this, so come and rescue me!”

    I’m praying for you! There is no way around this except to plough straight through and see with your own eyes the Lord’s grace, mercy & deliverance in store for you.

    Fay

    6 In my distress I called upon the LORD;
    to my God I cried for help.
    From his temple he heard my voice,
    and my cry to him reached his ears.

    16He sent from on high, he took me;
    he drew me out of many waters.
    17He rescued me from my strong enemy
    and from those who hated me,
    for they were too mighty for me.
    18They confronted me in the day of my calamity,
    but the LORD was my support.
    19He brought me out into a broad place;
    he rescued me, because he delighted in me.

    –Psalm 18

  2. It is at times like this that your gift for concentrating and focusing your mind turns against you big time. I have the same problem. I can remember once seeing a bruise on my hand (I get bruises all the time all over my body because I am so absorbed in thinking about what I’m thinking about that I bump into stuff and then immediately go back to my thinking so by the time the bruise comes up, I have no recollection of how it got there) But in this instance my mind focused on the bruise and began to obsess over it. Within hours I was convinced the bruise was growing and was some terrible condition and my hand was going to drop off from gangrene! At the same time another part of my mind was observing this and was amazed that I could let my worries get so out of control. I will also start crying about something that has happened in my life and my mind will then begin to make that bigger and bigger as well – I will start thinking about all the other women in pain and start crying about them as well. I’ve found that I have to forcibly turn off my mind. I just begin repeating a phrase, word, name of God, whatever, and refuse to allow my mind to think. If I start to think and my mind goes back to the crazy-making thoughts again I immediately start repeating the phrase again. Not verse, not a phrase to supposedly “fix” the thoughts or convince you of something (not “I’ll get through this” which your mind doesn’t believe which is why it’s freaking), a phrase of calming like maybe: “the soul is eternal” to simply focus the mind completely and refuse to allow it to engage in any thinking at all. I repeat the phrase along with breathing very slowly, deliberately and consciously. Even “the sky is blue” or “the water is cool” Something that stops thinking altogether. You’ve got to find your off switch. You can’t solve this problem by thinking about it. Thinking is, for now, an aggravating activity – it is making things worse all throughout your mind and emotions and soul. You’ve got to find a way to just turn it off. You don’t need thinking right now.

  3. Thanks for your concern, Mardi. My brain doesn’t engage in worrying, but in trying to sort things out. It helps me overcome my worries by deciphering my feelings and addressing those as best I can.

  4. I got my first traffic ticket when I was 18 for failure to come to a complete stop at a T-intersection in the middle of the night in Wake Forest. I remember having an inexplicable urge to drive my car into a tree all the way home, not wanting to face the world as a proven law-breaker. I went to bed that night but felt too ashamed to be at home (it must be noted that my parents blamed the officer for being persnickety, not me for being negligent, but I felt quite a bit of shame nonetheless), so I got dressed for school and drove to the school parking lot and slept in the car that night. I couldn’t believe that I could be someone worthy of the iron hand of the law. How could I have failed in the rules?

    This may not have anything to do with what you were talking about in this post, of course… my thoughts were about guilt/shame issues, and yours were about fear. But your post made me think of that nonetheless, coming from someone who is accustomed to playing by the rules so that these sorts of issues are not a problem. Funny when the rules get to be so complicated or so numerous that we can’t play by them anymore even when we try. I’m thankful at least that over time I’ve grown past the point where I equate rule-breaking with sin per se.

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