Barking Dogs of Fear – A Social Conundrum.

I can think of a few hundred reasons why this could not turn out as fun as I seem to think it would be.
Frid September 30 2016,
What possessed me? This invite was extended at the tail end of a week when a wild, throw caution to the wind, want to do something out of the ordinary feeling had been stirring in me. This feeling had been gnawing at my normally staunch, rule-following self and weakening resolve and the logic holding the self-imposed barriers I live behind. For some reason this was the night a few of these barriers were going to start being pulled apart, one choice at a time. Reservation left behind, except for the nagging whisper in the back of my mind asking me what the hell I was thinking. I drove to something, at someone’s house, whom I don’t know, because????
I turned onto sunset street hoping I wasn’t being quite the fool I felt like at the moment.
This risk was worth it right? A nervous laugh bubbled up inside me and exploded  into the quiet of my car. It helped to laugh a little. It let the little nervous thrill escape and eased the pressure that was building in my chest. What am I going to be walking into? Depending on the crowd and the informal or formal nature of the event this could be interesting.  So many pictures of how this could be embarrassing, and uncomfortable kept flashing through my head.  And what was I supposed  to say when someone asked me why I was there? What if  the only few people I knew at this thing were preoccupied by doing what they were invited there to do, namely play music? Seemingly so small a decision and yet  why was it looming so largely in front of me? What was going to truly be the worst that could happen?
 (…”I walked out on the ocean blue, oh, it felt like I was sinkin’ through. I was looking for your hand to hold me up, I put my faith in you…Oh I was looking for truth…oh I was looking for you”…)
A quote from a sermon I heard a few weeks ago flashed into my head.  ‘ We don’t live life trying  not to get more broken. ‘  I looked at all my reasons that were causing fear around this one simple thing, and realized I was trying to rationalize why it would be OK to back away from the unknown, to cling to self-protection, self-preservation and flee the uncomfortable.  I have walked in uncomfortable  places before that have left small wounds upon my person. Places that looked from the outside all to similar to this circumstance.  Who am I? Am I really wanted here? Places where rejection, self-doubt, and, insecurities have a platform  to accuse, degrade, and mock. Places that tare at the foundation of my identity and person. Did I want to go to a social event that from a distance seemed like fun, but in actual encounter might not  be  what I had hoped or dreamt. Would there be freedom in this place?
But this was a chance to face my fears differently, a chance to step over this ceaselessly barking guard dog of doom and lay hold  of what ever treasure lies beyond it! Guard dogs only bark when one gets within reach of the treasure they guard.
…So forward we go.
…”you’re the light house over the sea, yay, you’re all I need…take me away and bury me  deep in my grave…cause Lord I know I am depraved..say good bye to myself, oh I say goodbye to my old self”….
Welcome to Sunset st. 
A company, hosting a block party, to meet their neighbors.  Food, fun, and live music!
My friends were providing the live music and crazy me, I’d have to be fairly hard pressed to pass up an opportunity  to spend time and hear them play. These guys are some of my favorite people in the world. Their music, their lives, their being has been an integral part of the last year and a half of my journey in life. Their lives, a huge current that pulls people along into new realms of freedom and adventure. Their music has often become the sound of an experience or significant moment. Needless to say, I’m a fan.
That could  be an understatement, but its true. I love living life with them.  I love witnessing what happens in the places they play.   This night once again hit the mark.
As I greeted each friend with a hug and smile, my fears subsided, and in exchange I found welcome and peace. My friends flow in a welcoming and loving current.  They were in their element and their calm buried my fear. As they took up their instruments to play, the sound was calm and  light. A nice touch to a beautiful gathering. The unassuming approach of their simple set up caught peoples attention but allowed for the continuance of conversation as neighbors became more acquainted with one another. You could see the music catch peoples attentions, heads turned and slowly the gathering seemed to shift toward the area where the music could be heard more clearly. The sounds of A.B.F. came like waves and people would wade in and out at their leisure. One could easily see this group of friends play music because they love it; and they invite others into it.
As smiles spread on their faces, pieces of them seemed to awaken. They are easy going and fun natured and this night displayed the truth of it beautifully.  The joy that covers them, rolled out to those around, like a gentle current in the sea, unpresuming,  unannounced, and barely perceived. It catches you up and gently carries you along till all the sudden ya look up and  worries and cares are left like little shadows far down the shore. People seem to stand a little easier, walk a little lighter, and smile a little brighter.
It almost  kept me from enjoying a beautiful evening with some amazing friends, old and new. I walked away from this night, so grateful for the evening of invitations that opened a gate through some walls in this life. I’m thankful for the opportunity to step over some barking dogs of fear that to often keep freedom just out of reach. The time, one of our most precious commodities, spent was such a gift. It once again set a tune for my current journey of discovery into loving God and people. And being loved by them too.
Sometimes I wonder why I’m such a fan of these people, their music and lives. Then I live moments like these, and decide I don’t need to figure it out. I  just want to embrace what is and be thankful  for the opportunity to spend time like on Sunset st. and  all the hours in between.
Cause… “How we spend our days, is how we spend our lives.” 
Blog Post By:
Maranda Shively

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