. . . driven by a man named robert who will call you ma’am. well, at least he called me ma’am. and he let me change the channel on the radio and turn it up real loud when pink was singing “raise your glass” and let me turn it down when the news came on.
i have mentioned many times over the past nine months my conviction that i will go to hell after i die. about how anxiety attacks and fear for me are wrapped up in the certainty that this event is happening right now!
but what would it be like if i believed i were going to heaven? the angel of death came to my house around one o’clock and his name was robert. he drove me in a lincoln town car down to a television studio. i was shown into a dressing room where a feast was laid out and two very beautiful producers asked me if i needed anything and told me i was just great. then a makeup man did my face and a gal did my hair. because everybody wanted me to look my best. and then we waited.
when i was told by the stage manager that it was my turn i realized i had almost forgotten why i was in this place. she led me into the back of a stage area. i could see through curtains a couple of hundred people. cameras at every angle. lights full on the stage with such ferocity that i was sure i would be blinded. the stage manager told me to go forward, into the arena. all by myself. i was afraid but i remembered the letter to the hebrews which scholars believe may have been written by paul, barnabas, apollos, silas, aquila, pricilla or clement of rome. whoever it was had to be an athlete, possibly in training for a marathon. because at one point the writer says “where seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight and the sin which doth so easily beset us and let us run with confidence* the race that is set before us.”
i realized my biggest fear was that i would trip in my heels. i held out my hand. a very nice person who seemed to be in charge of women who are afraid of tripping in heels took my hand and guided me to a chair next to the chair of a very nice woman who asked me how i was feeling. i said great.
the cloud of witnesses quieted. we watched a short video about the f2fb project. after the video, the woman seated next to me asked some questions. i realized that everybody wanted me to succeed–from robert the angel town car driver to person in the last row of seats. there was no accusation in the questions the woman next to me posed. there was no derision or judgment from the audience. i had been paralyzed with fear for two days just thinking of this very moment but i had no need of that. there was a great sense of “this is kind of fun and maybe interesting”. . . . and there were three f2fb friends there as well! that was the most astonishing part.
cindy clohesy (f2fb friend #212) is a personal trainer and she had cancelled some client time just to be with me–she’s the brunette with the blue blouse. cathy jacobson (f2fb friend #213) is wearing pink. she is on her way to las vegas lucky gal!!! and paddy seymour (f2fb friend #214) is on the left–she drove home with me.
suddenly, it was over. the woman beside me shook hands, kissed my cheek and the world was awash with goodbyes and “great segment”! i think heaven, should i ever be so lucky and blessed, would be a review of one’s life and deeds without the criticism and angst i bring to things. and then i shall be part of a cloud of witnesses. i don’t think this “great segment” will ever air but i believe it taught me so much about how silly i am.
i came home and fell asleep well before eight thirty because i had invested so much unnecessary fear and anxiety into the enterprise. i woke up thinking it was time to start my day, thinking my phone was broken because it said it was only one a.m. but it really was one a.m. it was time to drink the last half of the beer i had started at eight fifteen and very quietly, without any cloud of witnesses save for that of angels, think “okay, i can do things i’m afraid of if i ask for help from my friends” . . . .
*some translations use the word “patience” instead of confidence. what-evs!