As I’ve meditated on what I’m really afraid of versus what I just tend to get anxious about sometimes, I think I am getting closer to some inner layers. I am trying to increasingly think about what issues are real spiritual growth blocks, not just worries. The idea of “the irreparable” is coming together for me as a major wall between me and God.
By the irreparable I mean a relationship or a situation that is so far damaged that it will never be the same. I have a fairly good record of being able to “fix” things I want fixed. I have also known situations that, even when I wanted to fix them, I could not. Where this dials into my deepest fears is where I feel I have done something by choice that has forever severed the repair I may seek. Something being unfixable. Permanently broken. All options gone.
Often I hear my perfectionist friends agonizing over making mistakes. This fear of the irreparable is beyond that. I make mistakes all the time. It’s actually part of my personal philosophy that it’s straight up crazy to be neurotic about making mistakes. We are human, it’s our nature, it’s not realistic or reasonable to truly expect that we won’t make mistakes. My fear is about being responsible for doing something that takes away any possibility of healing or repair to a situation.
What if in carelessness I say or do the one thing my spouse can never forgive? What if a friend is counting on me to remember something important that I completely forget about? What if I drop the ball and colleagues don’t feel they can count on me again?
As I look at that list, however, I notice that each item hinges on someone else’s response to an event. Yes, I did or didn’t do something, but how others respond to that is my fear.
My faith tradition tells me that God’s response to me will be consistent and reliable. Nothing is irreparable. Nothing when my heart and mind are focused on seeking redemption for mistakes I make.
And ay, there’s the rub……
I know myself to get quite weary with the forgiveness process. I’m all about it until I’m not. Sometimes it just wears me out. I want to say I don’t care anymore, I’m tired of struggling through complex issues of right and wrong, I just don’t care. Leave me alone, Universe. If you don’t like what I did, tough. I did it. I may do it again. Get off my case. I’m putting my chips on the bet that I’m not alone in this.
I think we have to be willing to get back in there. We have to do it with our human dynamics if we want peace in our lives, and we have to do it in our spiritual development for the same reason. I almost think knowing I am forgiven by a higher power makes it harder sometimes, because there is nothing to fight about, no argument to “win” and no real opportunity to say “I’m tired of you not wanting to work on this” because the only one putting up that B.S. is me. I truly believe the choice of finding peace and forgiveness and a clean slate is right in my own hands.
And that’s what I’m afraid of.
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11 thoughts on “Fear of the Irreparable”
Wow–this is another area where I think we are very much alike. I think things like this all the time.
Thank you, John…..I’m still not sure I’ve totally got a handle on it, but I think I’m getting closer.
It’s really interesting how so many of our fears are intertwined with each other. At the end the fear of the unrepairable(at least with God) is that it’s really up to you, and that’s what your afraid of.
Fear of self is a huge issue for me, and I’m guessing a lot of people. It all intertwines with the other ones fear of losing connection for me is fear that in someway I will become not good enough for others anymore. Fears of work, abandonment, etc. for me usually come out of a fear that I’m in some way not good enough or different or will fail or have screwed it up already, etc. If that’s an unreversable unfixable thing then it just adds all that much weight to it, and I trust my self all the less to do the right thing.
Zack, you and I only know each other via the blog, but I am completely confident in your goodness and your strength. Not that you necessarily will be comforted by that……but I hope it makes some small difference.
Excellent piece. I believe that redemption lies in our own hands, whether spiritual or emotional… and that is a scary thing. I don’t believe that my sins or misdeeds are made good by Jesus’ sacrifice, so I can’t fall back on that. I just think that when I screw up all I can do is my best to make it right; sometimes that’s enough and sometimes it isn’t. I suppose the scary part is that I’m not always sure my heart or personal fabric is up to the task. That’s my fear- not so much that something is irreparable but rather that I am an unwilling participant in the process.
And now to figure out the religious aspect of my thoughts on this…. should be easy enough!
I’m glad you liked the post. I think you totally “get” my fear. I probably should have titled it differently to clarify that the real fear is that I COULD fix something, I will just be emotionally or spiritually incapable or worse UNWILLING to do it.
” I truly believe the choice of finding peace and forgiveness and a clean slate is right in my own hands.”
Forgiving myself is the hard part. I don’t believe in any of the gods I have heard about so everything about me is up to me. I often think for a moment some awful thing I said or did and I try to immediately stop thinking about it and forgive myself. Someone said that guilt is in the past and anxiety is in the future. And my son says that stress is really fear. And I say it is almost time to see if highly paid Huggins screaming at his poorly paid players will work against Notre Dame or will it just put fear in their guts.
It is interesting to consider this idea that in many ways, if not every way, we are responsible for our own forgiveness process. Whether we interpret the divine as an external entity or as piece of ourselves, or even if we don’t believe anything is divine, most human beings seem to wrestle with this. And mightily so. Thank you for such an honest and thoughtful response to the post. (The Huggins thing, I’ll have to do some follow up on those outcomes…hmmmmm………….)
Wow. I just googled “fear of the irreparable” thinking maybe it was some kind of phobia that I shared with many, many people, so common that it might be clinically defined, and here I find this apply titled posting, and the responses to it. I was just trying to lay my own thoughts to the subject in writing and thought to look it up. I’ve decided to find this discovery very comforting.
I’m glad you found the post, Jeff! I am especially pleased that you found value here as well. Thank you for your comment and for sharing how you came to Esse Diem. Come visit again!
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