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First of all, do you know what the little guys in the picture above are?
If you’re from their “neck of the woods” like we are, you’re probably very familiar with them. If not, you’re probably thinking, “What in the holy God’s name….”
They’re possums and there are three that are ten kinds of crazy about our cat’s food. They show up every evening to pig out. It started with the just the mother, Margaret, then she had two babies. No idea why I named her Margaret – I think it was somehting in the eyes that just said, ‘Margaret” to me. Nice name, nice eyes.
A few nights ago, the two smaller ones showed up. One’s called “Pongo” by my husband and the other’s been dubbed “Wuffle Puffle” by my youngest daughter’s best friend. These guys really should leave the naming to the expert.
Anyway, they got positioned in one of our lawn chairs and wouldn’t budge. Normally, they climb up, then down, then scarf up all the food they can find. I’ve even watched as they’ve amused themselves with a few of our cats’ toys. Maragaret actually took off with a cat nip mouse and we haven’t seen him since. This night, however, the two of them seemed scared stiff – their tail WAS, in fact stiff – straight up stiff. The smaller of the two, that would be WP, kept snarling and showing his teeth.
Usually, when any of us come or go, they have the decency to take off. But on this night, as my husband and I left to do our Coffee House run, they froze. When we got back, they were still there – and WP started making that ridiculous face again.
I’m the last person in the world any animal should be afraid of – I’d hurt myself before I’d hurt an animal. In fact, even though they’re a great source of phobic fear, I’ve even swerved to keep from hitting snakes in the road before. So, naturally, I worried about these guys all night. I even went out the door to try to reason with them – they don’t respond well to sweet talk. They were so afraid it broke my heart. I put some extra food on a nearby table and, after about 10 minutes, they decided that the 9 Lives was worth risking their 1.
When they got down from their chair, they even sort of shook – like they were literally shaking the fear off of them! I was finally able to stop fretting about them and go to bed. But I laid there thinking about fear for about an hour.
These little guys were so paralyzed by fear that they were incapable of moving forward, backward, or even sideward. One couldn’t even seem to register an expression. It rendered them gimpy, wooden, unresponsive, senseless, and handicapped.
Fear is a saboteur that leaves its victim incompetent. It has the same effect on those of us who walk on two as those who walk on four. We become just as paralyzed and immobile as my pointy-faced little friends did. No progress, no growth, no advancing. We just stay where we are, stiff-tailed, snarling and making perfect spectacles of ourselves!
We all have our comfort zones – theirs was a lawn chair, ours is often a particular “place” in our lives. Someplace where whe know where everything is and how everything goes. We see people stuck in these chairs every single day – sometimes it’s even in our bathroom mirror. Fear is the main thing that holds people back from getting more and being more. Fear teaches that it’s infinitely more comfortable to remain inside of an addiction than to risk life outside of it. It convinces us that if we try to step outside of our safe harbor, we’ll fail or make fools of ourselves. Possibly both. If we listen to it, then it has made us the biggest type of fool.
It would probably be a good idea to ask ourselves if fear has put any part of our lives in neutral. Are we frozen in a chair? If so, we need to find our inner source of strength, move away from our comfort zone and, most definitely, shake the fear off!
Make each moment out of the chair count double!