Lady cardinal joined her mate and chirped at me while she jumped from branch to branch almost like she was lecturing me. “What is your fear?” She seemed to say. And I couldn’t respond. I couldn’t identify it, it’s just a way of being right now, like a season. All day I kept asking myself the question, and finally I talked it through with a friend. I figured out that what I was afraid of has already happened. And what I am afraid of actually cannot, in reality, happen at all. 

It was Robin Williams who said something similar. He said, “The things we fear the most have already happened to us.” If I dissect the experience of my emotion of fear, it always scatters itself out into what has already happened; what I’ve already lost; the sadness I’ve already felt; the shame I’ve already covered myself with; the loneliness I’ve already endured. A bruised place inside of me says, “No more. I just can’t handle anymore.” Thinking more of the same is coming.

But of course, I can handle it. Whatever is coming. I will.

The lady cardinal was at me everywhere I went, with relentless chirps, as if she were not a cardinal at all but a woodpecker, trying to hammer in the healing concept of relinquishing my white-knuckled grip on feeling fear as a measure of my existence and my future. “Listen,” she said. “You have to get this. I never did. And now I have to teach you through a bird for God’s sake. Hear me. You can live differently.” 🪶