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Thursday, September 07, 2006

Fear and Faith

Fear is a useful thing. An amazing thing. We carry within ourselves an unfathomably complex endocrine system that…when triggered by a threat…floods our tissues and brain with chemicals that cause us to unceremoniously vacate our bowels and sprint like flaming gazelles; or…turn to fight like rabid mastiffs. Pretty nifty if you’re a naked primate in the wild. Claustrophobic man in starched shirt and tie, stuck in a crowded elevator? Not so much.

There are things in life worth fearing. There are things that are not. It’s important to be able to tell the difference. But…that’s when things get really complicated.

We’ve all got our fears. Some are very useful…might even save us from death. But some kill the heart and soul (and happiness) all on their very own. I think it’s all just a big crapshoot. Granted, the gene pool runs from shallow to deep. Some may be born a bit more skittish…others more intrepid; but our worst fears are based on experience, and our experiences are uniquely our own.

We can’t reason away fear. Fears are based on reasons. That first spider found unexpectedly in bed, a dog bite or burnt finger, the slap in the face, the stumble or gaffe that came wrapped in humiliation, the fall from a ladder, the time we found ourselves lost and abandoned…all these serve as foundations for fear. The pain or shock was very real that first time…or hundredth time…or thousandth time. So painful, so shocking, so fearsome, that we darkly come to fear a possible reenactment. We somehow come to fear our fears.

It seems to me, the only antidote for fear is faith. It takes a whole lotta faith to put yourself in harm’s way; to trap that spider, pet a strange dog, strike a match, face the fist, walk with shaking legs through a mine field, climb that rickety ladder, or love a potential vagabond. It takes a whole lotta faith. Unfortunately, faith is even more elusive and mysterious than fear.

Fear and faith, two of life’s essentials. Both beyond my comprehension. But I think I'm right when I say:

The more you have of one, the more you need the other.

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3 Comments:

Blogger Sunny Delight said...

"The more you have of one, the more you need the other."

It has taken me awhile, a long while, but I am learning. Thanks to a wonderful teacher.

Have I ever told you, I agree with you? (I am smiling)

Wed Apr 25, 07:56:00 PM  
Blogger Jonas said...

Ah, Sunny, I believe I may have heard you say that...

Wed Apr 25, 08:41:00 PM  
Blogger Mary said...

Fear can be exciting too. I love the Eleanor Roosevelt quote: do one thing every day that scares you.

Thu Apr 16, 11:07:00 PM  

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