A foxhole life--
that's what I've lived,
Hearing the bullets whiz overhead,
Watching, in horror, the tragedies all around,
Fearing to stick my head up, much less come out and walk free.

I speak not of a real battlefield,
Nor even of an inner-city precarious existence.
I speak of a life lived in comparative tranquility and peace:
A loving marriage,
Good children,
Good health,
Financial freedom, for the most part.

Why was I afraid of everything,
Every possibility of loss, every dire warning?
I almost feel my fear was inherited,
Passed on in my mother's milk.

My worst fear did come to pass:
My beloved husband died four years ago.
Then my daughter withdrew from my life, fearing loss of her religion; my mother did the same.
I broke my leg and had knee surgery;
My skin is starting to sag, my energy declines.
Ten years ago I felt my foundation was ripped out from under me when my belief system stood naked, exposed as a lie.

The Lord stood by me and brought me through all this;
Why didn't I really, really trust Him?
Because fear casts out love.
And I have lived in fear, wondering, "what next?"

But tonight I feel somehow lifted up above it all.
Tonight I see what it would be like
To live life, not in fear, But trusting, really trusting God for everything;
To see the bullets of life whizzing past me,
Taking the occasional hit,
Watching other bodies fall--it's not always a defeat, you know-
Sometimes they fall into death, yes, but into triumph!

I had thought it a terrible waste-
Tragedies with no possible redeeming feature.
But tonight I know better.
Tonight I see the hand of God, still in control.
Tonight I came out of my foxhole.
Lord, close off that hole, so I can never live there again!

Bette Baker 1997

back to women's room

back to main page