(fiction) From Fear, or from Faith?

Kent Dahlgren
8 min readMay 23, 2023


A young woman visits a psychic, and the old woman pulls a few cards, examines the young woman’s sinewy hands with some discernable trepidation, and eventually looks squarely into the young woman’s eyes for a few moments.

Then the old woman releases the young woman’s hands, closes her eyes, and after few seconds the old woman looks up, turns her head to the right as she gazes askance at the young woman’s chiseled features, and says the following:

You are about to meet the love of your life — which you will come to refer to as “your person,” and he will be an older man by several years. He will come from a large family, and you will have children. You will be financially prosperous and happy for years, but eventually he will die, and you will spend many years a widow, although you will be left a sizable fortune.

Just a few months after visiting the psychic, the young woman meets a man about a dozen years her senior, and although he’s not her type, and although she’s not sure she even loves him, he fits the psychic’s pattern.

The young woman tells herself: “the plan is back on track.”

ce n’est pas une peinture d’une femme, et cette histoire est une fiction

She harbors some internal doubt about whether or not this man is “her person,” yet all the same: their meeting sure appears to represent a divine synchronicity!

Concerned about her biological clock, she rushes to take “a leap of faith” and she and the older man become romantically involved.

Years later she comes to assess this impetuous decision as something closer to a “leap of fear” which potentially sabotaged her opportunity to meet the love of her life and/or spend her final years as a rich widow.

Nonetheless, the young woman marries the older man, and they have children. For a few years they are relatively prosperous, and they purchase a large home, but the good times only last about a dozen years, and in time things unravel, beginning with her husband’s complaints that he cannot maintain his job’s stress and pace.

The man tells her that job insecurity is a cyclic quality of his trade, and he discloses he’s approaching burnout and needs a break. To her husband, she expresses support, but privately the young woman begins to indulge her own doubts and fears, and in time pressures the man to get a life insurance policy, “just to make sure.”

After all: the woman is only in her 30s — still youthful, and she isn’t excited about the prospects of being widowed, and even worse: it’s still not entirely clear where she is going to land financially, so she pressures her husband to work harder, just to maintain a “margin of safety.”

Things go from bad to worse as her husband’s health deteriorates.

There’s about 18 months where it appears clear to “everyone” that her husband is destined to die an early death, and she begins to publicly mourn his departure, with the support of her family and her friends.

Seven years later:

The woman is divorced from the man that she once called her husband.

She might have even addressed the man as “her person,” but never lost the deep-down sense that maybe he’s not the one, and now the two are estranged in a city thousands of miles from home, and she lives in a remote low-income housing development in a state she hates with every fiber of her being.

She’s persistently vexed as to how this outcome came to be; the plan was in effect, and the plan was perfect, so where did things go wrong?

She always knew she had a “gift,” a certain knack for predicting the future, so how did the plan fail?

Looking back, there was a time when things became unraveled, her husband’s health had deteriorated, and she’d concluded that it was time for her husband to die, as the psychic had foretold.

But it’s now years after the divorce, and the man she once called her husband has landed on his feet, and had somehow managed to steer his efforts towards a business venture which will likely succeed in a big way, eclipsing their prior years of prosperity.

How did this happen?

She spends hours of sleepless nights in bed, trying to figure out if she’d calculated incorrectly. Did she get off the ride too early?

One night she’s seized with a sudden realization: maybe she actually made things worse for her once-husband, because she had concluded that it was time for him to die? Maybe this is where she messed up her plan: impatience?

Logically, this made sense: if he were to die prematurely, she would have received a substantial life insurance policy to ensure her financial well-being, but was still youthful enough to find another partner. So perhaps she’d inadvertently increased her husband’s suffering with hopes he would get it over with, already?

Maybe that’s where the plan failed?

But now, all of that is off the table, and her once husband appears to become more healthy by the day, possibly improving the longer he’s away from her influence.

“What happened,” she asks herself?

The answers to these unspoken questions begins to filter to her through snarky comments she overhears from her teenage daughter. This annoys her. She doesn’t have time for this.

But this line of inquiry is extremely difficult to examine, and she can’t stop thinking about it, and in time the horror reveals itself in layers.

She walked the timeline backwards, to that meeting with the psychic, and she begins to realize that maybe the man she had married was not actually the love of her life.

What if she’d committed to the wrong man, and her “person” was still out there? Could this be repaired?

Is it too late for her to find “her person?”

She commits to finding the psychic she’d met with years prior, and after an exhaustive search manages to locate the old woman, who by now is no longer performing psychic readings as a vocation.

After some insistence on the part of the young woman, the old woman relents, and the young woman flies back home, and they meet over coffee in the old woman’s farm cottage, out in a remote area in the forest in the southern valley, just a few hours from where the young woman grew up.

The young woman tells the old woman her story, and although she does her best to smokescreen her behavior, it becomes clear that the old woman is perceptive enough to see through the haze as she watches the young woman with her face held askance.

The old woman gets up, goes to the kitchen, after refilling their coffee, the old woman sits down, gazes upon the young woman’s wiry hands, and finally looks up as she says this:

You interpreted the reading as a prediction, revealing that you believe in fate, rather than manifestation.

You say the words, but your behavior betrays your own deeply-held beliefs.

You believe you have the gift of prediction. I remember this reading, years ago, and I shared with you a possibility, and you were left with the choice of manifesting the outcomes, either from fear or from faith.

That’s different than having the gift of prediction, which is ego-based.

The woman impatiently sits forward and asks the psychic “but was the man to whom I was once married my true love? Was he my person?”

The old woman replied:

Only you can answer that question, because love is a doing, and not a feeling.

A starting place would be to examine the choices which led to your own behavior.

Ask yourself: how many of my choices were made from faith and love, and how many were made from fear?

The young woman examined the old woman with a puzzled expression.

The old woman studied the young woman’s face, and in time continued:

I delivered to you a possibility. You possess the ability to perceive other possibilities, but you call this gift “prediction.”

This indulgence of ego keeps you blind to the role you play in bringing about potential outcomes.

If your choices were predominantly informed by fear, rather than faith and love, your choices suggests that you were invested in forcing an outcome, rather than faithfully waiting for your true love to appear.

“But I am a faith-based person,” protests the young woman.

So you say.

The young woman frowned, and finally said “so he was not my true love after all.”

The old woman shook her head and said:

It appears he was not, based upon your own answer.

Don’t despair. Have faith! If you have chosen incorrectly, there’s the potential that your true love is still out there, and you’ve yet not met him.

But in your fear you have greatly complicated the path which will lead you to your true love, first of which is the fact that you became emotionally invested in the premature death of your children’s father because you were fearful of being poor.

You can candy coat this all you’d like, but deep down inside your children will know this to be true, and you’re going to hear echoes of this from your girls as they grow older.

You made a decision that it was time for their father to die, and you became inpatient when he refused to go easily.

You didn’t want to be wrong, and you didn’t want to be poor, but you’ve not spent much time thinking about how this one decision, which was rooted in fear, will echo in the lives of your children as they become adults.

Indeed, this suggests that you haven’t gotten to the bottom of addressing related themes within your own life, when you were a child.

I’ll ask a question you don’t have to answer: how old were you when your father left? And how old were your youngest daughters when you concluded it was time for their father to die?

Love is not a feeling; it’s rooted in action, and faith doesn’t exist in the presence of fear.

You possess the gift of manifestation, and you receive possibilities that may become reality, depending upon how you invest: from fear or from faith.

Your true love is likely still out there, so how are you going to fix the mess that’s been made, learning as much as you can to find your way to him?

The young woman looks to her hands folded in her lap, and the old woman follows her gaze.

The young woman nods her head, and after a few moments pulls a small handgun from her bag and shoots the old woman three times in the chest.

Unlike the gunfire that is depicted on television, the old woman isn’t killed immediately, and the young woman is forced to stand and watch the woman die over the course of about 45 minutes.

The young woman applies lotion to her hand’s dry skin, and watches the old woman writhing on the floor. She finds the old woman’s display annoying.

The young woman becomes increasingly impatient with a frequent need to keep the old woman contained and away from her phone, and she scolds herself for being so passive about forcing the death of her now ex-husband.

“There’s still time to repair this and get the plan back on track,” the young woman tells herself, placing her bottle of lotion back into her purse, along side her small handgun.

“I can do this. I can repair the plan and get back on track. It’s not too late.”

“I know how to be sweet, and now I know exactly what to say to him, and to others, and next time I will make sure he dies when it’s time.”

“I will be less passive next time.”



Kent Dahlgren

Product management fix-it guy. World-famous people skills. Extremely small hands. (edit) marketing lady says I’m also supposed to say “CEO of software company”