Tammy Helfrich

Life begins right where you are.

What was your first fear?

Do you remember it? Do you remember what it felt like?

I have a vivid memory of mine. I was about four. My parents owned a glass business. In the afternoons, my Mom would often take me with her to the shop. I guess I would sometimes fall asleep on a bench in the showroom. This particular day is burned into my memory.

I open my eyes. The daylight is dwindling. I’m so tired and confused. The lights are off. Why are the lights off? Something is wrong. It doesn’t seem right. Where is everyone?

I jumped up from the bench and head straight to the sliding glass doors. They overlook the street. The building is set back from the street with a large parking lot in front. There are no cars. But I can see the traffic passing by on the street. And that’s when I see it.

A big, bright yellow glass truck. Heading down the street. Away from the shop.

My Dad is in it. He’s heading home. Without me. He left me!

I panic. I am instantly frightened. I scream. I beat my fists on the door.

Nobody can hear me. I am alone. I am afraid.

All I can do is curl up in a ball and cry. I didn’t know how to use a phone. I didn’t know where the lights were. I had no idea what to do. So I stayed still, and sobbed.

The minutes seemed like days. He left me! He forgot about me! How could he???

Those were the only thoughts I had. Time stood still.

In my mind, an eternity passed. The light continued to fade and it was getting dark. I did not like to be in the dark. At all.

And then I saw it. A bright yellow truck. Racing around the corner and flying into the parking lot. Skidding to a stop in front of the patio doors.

He jumped out of the truck. His worried face tense with emotion. He saw me and his eyes lit up. I was safe.

He pulled me into a huge hug, telling me over and over how sorry he was that he had forgotten I was there. Although I was frightened and a little angry at him for leaving me, I also felt relief. I had been found. I was not forgotten.

While we often joked about this as I grew older, this is one of the few memories I have from that time in my childhood. It impacted me.  Fear looks different now, and instead of curling up in a ball and crying, I work to face it head on.

What about you? Do you remember your first fear? How has it impacted you?

8 Comments

  1. Wow. Thanks for capturing that so vividly.

  2. When I was two, my dad left a ladder against the house. My parents couldn’t find me, so they looked outside. I was on the roof. No fear. I quickly learned fear after that.

  3. This made me cry! can I use this story and your dads reaction in one of my sermons??? About God searching us!
    Give you full credit of course!!

  4. Many years ago my family left my niece at church. We took multiple cars so I think everyone just assumed she was with someone else. we didn’t realize she was left behind until someone else from church brought her home!

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