That’s the question I was asked. “Does the fear ever go away?”

It was an inquiry on my website from an ex-Moonie. I get them periodically. I love getting them. I devour them as soon as I notice they’re there, and then I reread them a few more times. My next step is to, usually, forward the emails to my older brother, and to then sit for quite some time with the fact that someone reached out to me again.

Finally, I’m at my computer to a) thank them for connecting with me and b) answer their questions as well as I can.

Over the years, I’ve had numerous requests for information – any information – about Jacob House and what it was like to be a kid there. Those requests are usually from kids whose parents left them at Jacob House. I invariably also get them in touch with my mother. She often remarks to my older brother and me about the pain those kids are in because their parents left them.

I get “hello’s” from members who remember my brother and me and also from some who don’t. I’ve heard stories of painful times in the Church and traumatic paths out of the Church. I’ve had a few people share with me their good memories as well.

This former member who found me – thanks to the blog post on How Well Do You Know Your Moon – told me her story of pain. Pain in the Church. Pain on leaving the Church. Pain since leaving the Church. Unfortunately, I think that’s the common journey.

And then she asked me, “Does the fear ever go away?”

Does the fear ever go away?

In my experience, it doesn’t go away. At least not fully. At least not yet. But in my experience, it lessens.

It lessens in how often it overtakes me and how badly it overtakes me. I am wracked with terror or waves of shame much less often, and when they wash over or through me, I’m more quickly able to recognize what they are and call them out for being false. It’s like I can stand outside of myself while also being with myself, and remind myself that it will pass, even as much of me is caught up in the turmoil and fear that it will never pass.

Does the fear ever go away?

When it comes over me so strongly that I can’t see – or know – anything else, I know to get help. I know to reach for the phone. To call someone who loves me. Someone who will stay by my side and talk me through the fear.

And then it passes. Sometimes quickly. Sometimes much too slowly. But it passes. While I used to live my life in near-to-constant low-grade fear, more of my days are now spent in love and joy. In peace and ease. I have the wherewithal to realize that many of my fears are irrational, and I have the tools to take care of myself when the fear feels so real again.

“Does the fear ever go away?” she asked. “Not yet,” I answered. “Not all the way away. Not yet. But it’s so, so, so much better.”

I’d love to hear your thoughts, and please share this post with others if it resonates with you!

Photo by Daryn Stumbaugh on Unsplash