I Am Afraid of a Harmless Thing


Image Description: A close up image of a daddy long leg, standing on a green leaf.

I am afraid of a harmless thing.
It looks like it could creep,
or bounce,
or pounce,
or charge awkwardly with its considerable appendages.

But it does none of these.
It stays in place all day long,
content to rest in a single crevice,
or reside in clumps of countless others.

It wishes me no harm;
likewise, I wish it no hurt.
Unlike curious schoolchildren at recess,
I will not examine it,
or smash it,
or dash it,
or remove any of its legs.

But –
I will stand irrationally in fear.
I will freeze in the presence of a childhood phobia.
No matter the logic:
“It can’t bite you,”
“It can’t poison you,”
“It can’t jump on you,”
I will cringe with revulsion and anxiety.
I am afraid of a harmless thing.

It makes me wonder. . .

the word can’t enters our thinking, or
the word won’t enters our hoping, or
the word don’t enters our dreaming,
perhaps we fear something harmless too?

Renee Roederer

[1] Photo Credit: Mehran Moghtadai/Arad/Wikipedia

2 thoughts on “I Am Afraid of a Harmless Thing

  1. Renee, when you or I take an instantaneous look which carries with it an instant fear, we can assume that we have not thought our fear through. That our instant reaction comes from the oldest of three segments to our brain which overwhelms us with instantaneous reactions.

    Although it is near impossible to control our reactions to that part of our brains, I believe that various mindfulness practices may help us to contain such reactions (whether looking at a spider, impulsively snacking, reacting to people different than ourselves).

    There are other practices. I try and remind myself that I am not God’s gift to the universe, that I have many faults such that my reactions to those different to myself, for example, are thrown up by me as a defense mechanism, which when I am mindful I repent because I cannot justify it.


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