Fainting Goats

The other night McKenzie rolled out of bed, came to my room, and asked if I would come and “be with her” for a few minutes. As we walked hand and hand to her room, she told me about several things that worried her. As is often the case, those worries surface the most when the lights go out. Darkness has a way of doing that. So I held her close, and we talked and prayed through her fears. While we didn’t fix all of the things she worries about, I knew we had loosened the grip of fear enough for her to sleep.

Sometimes it just helps to talk about the things that keep us awake.

I am grateful that my youngest trusts me with her fears. It challenges me to think about how long it can take me at times to share my own anxieties with those who care about me. What happens to us adults that we think being grown up means keeping it all together and not acting like anything is ever wrong?

I am not suggesting that I should bare my soul every morning by the coffee pot at work to some poor, unsuspecting person who just needed some caffeine, but do we really need to act like we have it all together all the time so that when someone says, “How are you?” our automatic response is “I’m fine?”

I am fortunate to have several people in my life with whom I can trust my heart. But sometimes even those people have to really press to figure out what is bothering me.

I thought about this recently when a friend purchased a new goat and explained that this breed was known as “a fainting goat.” When I laughed, he said, “No, really! Google it sometime.”

So I did.

In video after video these cute little goats prance around, playing with their friends, when all of a sudden, something startles them and without warning they faint. Articles assured me that these goats are fine when this happens and that eventually they learn to cope with this strange issue. As one website explains, “Younger goats are more prone to fall over and tumble when startled, but as they grow older, many eventually manage to avoid falling down altogether during an episode. They simply run away from a threat on stiffened legs. Older goats also tend to become more secure with their environment and startle less easily.”

Sometimes I definitely feel like a fainting goat.

I walk through my life, enjoying moments with family and friends, praying, giving thanks, hopefully growing, when all of a sudden, something happens that springs open that door of worry and anxiety and boom! My heart faints, and I lay there stunned, wondering what the heck just happened. I sheepishly pull myself up again and look around, wondering if anyone was watching.

I am learning that the best way to cope with my tendency to worry is not to act like I’m fine and have it all together, but instead to ask someone I trust if he/she will “come be with me for a few minutes.”

While it can feel vulnerable, admitting our worry and fear to someone else can be beautiful and healing as well.  What are you tired of carrying alone?