The Other Deepest Fear

Mary Agnes, By Robert Henri, 1924

Mary Agnes, By Robert Henri, 1924

I heard the title of the poem, “Our Deepest Fear,” before I actually read it. I imagined a kind of kinship with the author. Wondered what the answer was. When I finally read it, I felt confused.

“Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure . . .”

The people reciting the poem in movies are always so courageous and convincing that despite my inability to get it, I feel happy for them. But my deepest fear? Well, it ain’t that. For fun on a sleepless night, I managed to corral mine under one of two umbrellas. First, that I am ultimately unlovable, and second, that I will fail to love well those that mean the most to me. (I know, my deepest fears would make a lousy movie if the poem had gone my way.)

I try to be a tidy liver – as in a person who lives tidily, not the organ meat you fry with onions – but sometimes my fears get messy. This goes for deep ones and spiders and I swear there’s a pattern. Except I haven’t deciphered it, so I don’t predict the deep fear rising soon enough to quarantine myself from the outside world until it passes. Once it arrives, it’s too late. I’m a blithering idiot just wanting something to make it better. Even worse, I talk to people. Or try to.

When the fear submarines decide to go down again, they smile and pretend to deep six themselves. I wave goodbye because I am so done with them, but I mostly know that part is pretending. Past experience is that they don’t have the decency to die, they just bubble out of sight so they can take a break down there where it’s murky. ¬†Sometimes they hover just out of hearing but I can tell by the water they haven’t gone far. Other times they disappear to the ocean floor for so long, I start to believe they’re gone. Either way, there’s afterwards.

A submarine came up for air recently. This particular one especially compels me to pour out my soul as nakedly as possible. With sub in sight, I am certain this is the only solution. Once the sub dives down again, I am left cursing my lack of clothing, wondering what possessed me and swearing all kinds of promises to myself to never do that again.

Might I say, despite the possible agitation caused to those convinced that I just don’t get that part of Ms. Williamson’s poem, how lovely it would be, if my deepest fear was that I was powerful beyond measure.

Also I am looking for the button. The one you can push to have recent words erased from other people’s heads, replaced instead with the notion that I am soooo together now.

4 Comments to The Other Deepest Fear

  1. Yep.. I too deny the air bubbles coming up from the depths.

  2. Carol says:

    In knowing that you are not all together, it could be you are
    much more connected with your true self than those of us who
    seem to be unable to admit we go around in circles never seeing
    our true selves.

  3. Kati says:

    One of my fellow Christ travellers defined Fear as:
    F – false
    E – evidence
    A – appearing
    R – real
    Joy is what gives you the fortitude to endure trials that you would give up on.
    Hope this helps.
    I too used to be afraid of spiders but going to Africa got rid of that one; there were just too many. Now it’s only flying stinging things and I admire you having bees. Enjoy your musings – makes me think. Kati