Phobias

A few months ago, three to be exact, I acquired the most wonderful dog–a big, soft, fluffy Golden retriever named Sunshine. She’s fabulously laid back, through all the puppy stages (she’s six) and loves nothing more than a good ear-scratching or belly rub. She’s an enthusiastic napper, prone to deep snoring and barking in her dreams.

She does however, have this dreadful fear of thunderstorms. She starts shaking and drooling and gets so upset she can’t find a place to ride it out–she’s tried the kitchen, the bathroom, the closet, under the bed, on my head (while I am asleep), and even a small tent I bought her to give her her own space. There’s nothing I can do to convince the poor dog that it’s dry inside, nothing is going to fall on her head and all the crashing and banging is just noise.

I have been afraid a lot lately as well–afraid to blog, afraid to pray, afraid to look at my icons, afraid even (dare I say it) to be a Christian. Like Sunshine I felt like I lost my home, though it was of no fault of hers or mine. I have tried various places to ride it out–my bed on Sunday mornings, visiting family members’ Protestant churches, and wandering from Orthodox congregation to Orthodox congregation. Nothing I have been able to tell myself has convinced me that all the banging and crashing surrounding the breakup of my little church was noise–sinful people arguing for their own bad behavior.

Sunshine’s fears are getting better. The other night she decided, thankfully, that curling up between my head and the wall was not the best place and tucked herself unobtrusively under the bed.

I think my fears are getting better too. I have been attending a Greek Orthodox church in town, and while I don’t know as much of the liturgy as I would like to, it is nice to pray, to smell the incense, and to hear the Holy Scriptures chanted from the front. I think I’m going to settle down there a little bit, tucking myself in, for now, as unobtrusively as I can.

It’s nice to feel safe again.