My breath was coming in short gasps as I awoke in the middle of the night with a claustrophobic painful presence covering my chest and abdomen. I cried out to God, and in my mind’s eye I saw a large spade-like tool angled towards my chest, just missing my chin as it slowly moved forward. Its straight edged blade, honed finer than a knife’s edge, began to wedge itself ever so carefully between me and the unknown thing. Prying with the precision required for the most delicate of surgeries, it began to free me from my oppressor without inflicting any damage to my fragile skin. As it was lifted, the form became clear. Leech-like in appearance, texture and consistency, its main difference from that parasite was its mouth or lack there of. Instead of an orifice, its entire belly was securely fastened to me, and through osmosis it suctioned out my life and separated me from my God. It was fear.
After the operation was complete and the leech had been removed, the stifling weight of fear was gone and the physical pain was eased. Rejoicing in my freedom and praising my Great Physician, I drifted back to sleep. Little did I know this was just a roadblock removed, a harbinger signaling the next step in my healing journey. Next, I would be taken to a place so frightening I had hitherto been unable to face its terror.