Hi, Everyone. Corbin posted this a few hours ago. It has been a while, and I was very glad to see this. Hope you will enjoy reading his latest post.
And so he returns!
Fear. A horrible thing that tends to grab us by the throat and squeeze until one by one, the beats of our heart slow and finally die.
I have, ever since childhood had an unaccountable and rather over-proportioned fear of death. I have no idea why, where or exactly when it began. Perhaps a dog that I loved moved on. But I would lie in bed, in the dark and think..."I'm going to die one die, I will die!" My heart would race, my throat would thicken and my body would shiver at the thought. Then, slowly, by God's grace and perhaps design, it would subside, slow and, for a while go away as suddenly and mysteriously as it began. And that has continued, with less frequency and scale, thank God, to this day.
When my father died about five years ago I was smacked by the reality of my lifelong fear. I stared it directly in the face for the first time. I had other brushes with it over the years, friends passing, Grandpa, the rest, but this was personal, very personal. It was in my "Circle of Life" and included me, making it very clear the on deck circle was nearer. That thrust me into a journey that has been nothing less than extraordinary and magnificent... and at times, frightening. Very frightening. It called on me to face that fear of death, study it, piece it together with the rest of the puzzle that is this thing we call life. The curious mind that I have, I jumped right in and of course studying my faith, my beliefs,my morals, and ultimately my connection to my fellow man is what emerged. And to some degree I have, over these five years come to an understanding, shallow as it may be, of my fear of death, amongst others. I wouldn't say that discovery of my faith, in particular though the films I've made recently, was the only factor in calming me, but it surely played and continues to play a significant role in paving a new road to deal with all things, including those fears, and yes, Captain Death.
Then, about two months ago, perhaps the hardest piece of reality of our life smacked me in the face.... my mother's passing, and that "Circle of Life" got not only clearer, but significantly smaller, tighter. The "On Deck Circle" suddenly had my initials in it. "Come on down Corbin Dean Bernsen!" (Give me some writers credit here, that was no less than 3 metaphors in the same sentence!)
But there I was and here I am. Fear, knocked at my door once again... hard... harder than ever. The throat tightened. So I began exploring once again, to deal, to cope. I woke up almost every morning and wrote here to you, my friends, to reach out. And if I missed the morning, then at night, but almost daily. And the writing calmed me. And while it didn't put me back "outside the circle,"or off the "on deck circle," I did realize that I am with you, all of you. We are all "On Deck," and I'm no greater or less, no closer or further, no confused or calmer than the rest of you. As my mother would say,we are one. I am not alone. And I would, for a moment, at least be able to manage my fear and almost close the door on it. "ALMOST."
One of the last comments on one of my last posts before I "shut down" several weeks ago, someone, whom many of you berated for not allowing me to grieve, (and I personally was upset with) said "Get over it already and get some help Corbin." That hit me hard. You could even say it "slapped me in the face." But you can't take all the good without at least considering what appears to be "bad." And I do and have always READ YOUR COMMENTS, most all of them, and allowed them to shape me, comfort me, inspire me. And soI did with this "negative" comment as well.
But I've never been one that has had any kind of success, at least so far with reaching out to a "professional" for problems of the mind. I would, funny enough, go to my mom if I really needed to let it all out. And at other times, to my wife, or even closer friends. But always someone who had at least some general, real connection to me. The "paid stranger and the couch" never seemed to work the couple of times I tried. Nothing against it, but just not me. I've had more success with an unpaid stranger on a park bench or sitting next to me on an airplane. I've never been afraid to share my feelings, fears and the rest with strangers, sometimes to a fault.
"Get some help, Corbin...." That stuck with me. Then, and this wasn't planned but instead inspired by some reading I'd done lately, not to mention what was right there in my heart, and of course a gentle whisper in my ear from God out there at the center of the mystery... but I reflected and said to myself... be quiet. Stop the noise, stop the writing, stop the activity and simply be. "Experience," again my mom's words. So I shut down the factory and simply began to listen and let who and whatever was at my doorstep have a voice. Certainly God was there, but coyly quiet, smiling, not giving me too much as to not have yet another reason to be silent. And yes, my old foe, fear, Death. "My mother was dead and I'm next!" Sh!t! There it is again. And not a 70 or 80 year vision into the future from my childhood bed.
So, Facebook asks in their little box "what have you been up to?" Well that's it, facing my fear, all my fears. Quietly, terrified and sometimes tranquil. Life is both. That's the straight up on that.
Yesterday I played Father Todd once again on The Young and Restless... want to talk bizarre? So there I am, as Father Todd doing the very public memorial for Katherine Chancellor. Yes, I'm putting to rest this fictional character of forty years, but doing so as a fictional character myself, in a fictional town with fictional family and friends. And here's the capper... Katherine Chancellors' photos - a woman who looks strikingly like my mom - are all over the place! But that's not it... as others come to the podium and recall their times with this woman who has been a pillar of their community, they are allowed to grieve, cry, let the emotions flow. But I, Father Todd, have no real relationship to this woman in this fictional world so for me to cry, to have emotion would not be "appropriate" to the scenes. Add to that, I'm supposed to be THEIR STRENGTH! But cut to the real world... and that's my mom! Wow. Twilight Zone, bad acid, you name it... just a strange brew indeed!
All that said, I came away "lighter" in spirit. Some of my "darkness" of recent relieved. And while the fear is still there, and most likely will always be, for the moment, I'm okay with it... and not by shutting it out, closing the door on it, but looking it in the eye and saying "I know you're there, but I'm also here and today, you cant have me. Try to bite, try to sting... take your best shot. You've come out of the darkness, into my light, I can see you plainly, I see you for what your are and today you can't have my throat to strangle, my heart, my life. Those are mine today. But please, stay here with me, don't leave, we can dance from time to time, I'll allow you that, but only that."
My mother has been speaking to me lately, but only when I'm quiet and get out of the way. I can't force her to show up but know that she, like God, only does so when they are ready, in their own time, and I'm still enough to listen. For theirs is a strong but at the same time faint voice that needs the noise silenced to be heard.
And so Facebook, 'That's what I've been up to.'"