* Phobias, anyone?

Cee’s Share Your World challenge has wonderful questions that could easily take me 1,000 words to answer!  Aren’t you glad I don’t write posts that long anymore?  Here’s my response to just one question, “Any phobias?”  Although I had experienced a couple of panic attacks earlier in my life, I didn’t know that’s what they were.  Then I suffered a panic attack at the top of the Sunshine Skyway Bridge in Tampa, Florida and thought I was losing my mind.

Sadly, I was on a long trek to a major driving phobia.  Eventually, just getting on a freeway or bridge caused me to faint.  Fortunately my husband was sitting next to me the last time I attempted a freeway and we managed to pull off as I blacked out.  Talk about scary.  My world shrank, fear by fear.  I struggled to navigate small back roads and had to be chauffeured by friends and family.

I suffered from this worsening phobia for 12 years.  I tried biofeedback, will power, praise and worship, and years of desperate prayers.  I felt that God was going to heal me, but when?  How?  What if I thought I was healed but passed out, killing myself and others?  Then I attended a cognitive behavior therapy workshop with Reid Wilson, director of Anxiety Disorders Treatment Center.  I knew nothing about his approach or I wouldn’t have gone.  Seriously.  But what a lifesaver that weekend was, a true answer to my prayers.  I was back on the freeway and conscious!   Since then, I’ve driven everywhere; my dearest teaching widower hardly ever gets a turn.  He was a bit anxious himself as I took my hands off the wheel and shrieked with joy while crossing the Golden Gate Bridge last year.

I am “cured” but I use quotation marks because I’m grateful that a phobia may still raise its hairy head.  My brain occasionally thinks it is protecting me (“Pass out!  Pass out!”) and I’ve had a few panic attacks since that weekend.  My response?  Bring it on!  I am free and determined to stay that way!  If you suffer from phobias, check out Reid Wilson’s marvelous approach to anxiety disorders.

* 39 weeks plus eternity

Levi

Levi lived 39 weeks in his mother’s womb and then his heart stopped beating.  Yesterday, we grieved and celebrated his life as a family at church.  Thirty-nine weeks on earth and an eternity in heaven, a place where there are no more tears or broken hearts and death is vanquished.

Levi’s mother, an accomplished pianist, played the keyboard as we sang:

hillsong

Levi’s father shared an amazing eulogy, describing how he and his wife lovingly bathed and prepared Levi’s body for burial.  We sang and cried and clung to one another and our faith in the One who lost his only baby boy.

In lieu of flowers, the family has asked that donations be given to Teachers2Teachers- International.

scholarshipThis worthwhile nonprofit sends experienced teachers to developing nations to partner with high-impact teachers. For example, in Honduras, El Maestro en Casa, teachers travel up to two hours to neighboring villages to deliver one day of instruction to students who cannot afford to attend a traditional school. In Guatemala, teachers at the William M. Botnan School employ both Spanish and the local Ixil language so that first-generation students can remain connected to their Mayan heritage. In South Africa, Mukhanyo Christian Academy provides an education to AIDS orphans and other vulnerable children in the community.

We love Levi, a beautiful boy with his daddy’s eyes and lips and his mother’s curly hair and long piano fingers.  We rage at death, we cling to faith, and we hope for the future.