I think it's when I read the news and hear about one more way the world is tearing itself apart by hatred, greed, and lust. There's a song by Regina Specktor that touches on that topic and can answer the question for a lot of us. It's entitled: Laughing With. It really makes sense and makes you think about the terrifying moments in our lives.
I guess I'm lucky in that world events rarely strike terror into my heart...oh, a little trepidation now and then, but that's about as far as it goes. While I'm not easily terrified, there was one time in my life when I really knew what it felt like, and it's the only time I've ever panicked. My first "real horse" (after two ponies) was a pride-cut Mustang that hadn't been rounded up until he was about 7, so he was a real handful and learning experience. For the most part we did great together, but he did have a particular fear of dogs and things that go boom. On one occasion I was riding him in the pasture when the neighbor's German Shepherds came out after us. I was able to get him to stand and scare them away, but he was a bit skittish after that. Halfway back to the house, the wind blew in his ear just right and he was convinced those dogs were coming after him, so he took the bit in his teeth and nearly exploded out from under the saddle, then took off as fast as his 16h would take him. He nearly scraped me off on a tree, but I was able to get my leg over to the other side before he mangled it....then saw the barbed wire fence coming less than 20 yards away and thought for sure he'd run right through it and get us both killed. I did not regain my senses until he'd taken two flying turns and I finally came off and landed safely, flat on my back on a stack of oil drums.
Having panic attacks are terrifying. You feel like you're dying. Your heart races uncontrollably, you can't breathe, you feel faint, your scared, you feel help less, it's like the end of the world.
Although much in the news does strike a reasonable amount of fear in me, as I worry about the condition of the country that we leave to our children. It does not qualify for my most terrifying moment.
When my husband almost died, was the most terrifying for me personally. Thankfully, he survived and is well, but those days were certainly dark.
Granted the fear was absolutely selfish on my part. I imagined facing the world without him by my side, raising our young three children (then) without his guidance and perspective, and losing my best friend. Being young and totally unprepared for those consequences, yeah, I was out-of-my-mind terrified.
I have yet to have to face any terrifying moment in my life as I always have God there and God is in total control of my life my existance.
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