Proportionate Fear

Fear doesn't look as big when you measure it up against God

Spiders and I have a tenuous relationship. As a little girl, I thought they were downright freaky. But my beloved grandmother loved to scoop up daddy long-legs and sweet talk ‘em. More afraid I’d disappoint her than I was of the nickel-sized monsters, I’d give the spiders she found chummy names and pretend to be interested.

Once upon another time in Ecuador, classmates had a phobia of the little eight-legged reminders that evil has corrupted this world. In the safety of my own room, I gave the beasts a wide berth. But among my peers a bigger fear reigned: admitting weakness. So I feigned courage as the designated squasher when all the guys had gone off and every girl was arguing over who would check the rooms for creepy, crawling terrors.

On the other hand, those who already know me well enough to disbelieve my fake bravery are more accustomed to the sound of screaming and stomping in the shower when anything else moves in there. I’m not afraid of these people or what they think of me so I’m rather free to exhibit my fear of arachnids with full gusto.

My fear of spiders seems directly proportional to my fear of people’s thoughts of me…

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