Life is fearsome. Living is a fearsome thing. Living this life means we must face our fears otherwise, are we really living? One can be alive but not living? One can be alive and simply surviving. Sometimes this is necessity as with one who is captive or incarcerated. But even the captive can live, thrive. I think of Cardinal Francis Xavier Nguyen Van Thuan who spent nine years in solitary confinement. How do we thrive in adversity? How do we face our fears and push through them?
I learned something about myself today as I drove to mass. It is the Feast of Corpus Christi and also in three days I will be traveling to London with my sons. So many things stood between me and this trip but the largest obstacle was my own fear. Fear said, “You can’t afford it.” Fear said, “Their father will protest you taking them overseas.” Fear said, “You can’t be away from work and your patients for 10 days.” Fear said, “What if something happens!” Fear said, “You can’t go ALONE, as the only adult! You should do this with another adult!”
Fear said, “just wait!”
Fear is a wicked, sinister trickster. At first, fear masquerades as logic and reason. Then it plants the seeds of doubt. Fear feigns concern for your safety. Fear wants to paralyze you and keep you burdened by your anxiety. Allowing fear to grasp the hem of your dress means you remain tethered to doubt. You stop dreaming. You stop hoping. We must beat back fear to hope, to love.
Hope soars. Hope reaches. Hope dares. Hope takes risks. Hope leads to love, true and boundless love. If I am to lead by example, then I must show my sons through my actions. I want to show them through the struggles I have with making decisions, solving problems and facing Fear. Despite the fearsome life we are gifted, we must tackle Fear, wrestle with the bear that lumbers after us and face LIVING. That is not a FEARLESSNESS. Far, far from it. Only a true fool or imbecile is fearless, ignorant of fear.
I felt this morning that my faith, through Christ, gives me the armor to wear into battle with Fear. I am equipped with the armaments to protect myself so i can be a warrior. It is my ability to name Fear, call out Fear, face Fear and conquer my fears one step, one swing, one hurdle at a time.
And then suddenly, I am on the eve of leaving on a new adventure and my fears are far behind me.