Living with fear…..
How are you feeling today? We’re all living in strange times, almost unbelievable times. Surreal is a word I’ve heard a lot, alongside unprecedented. Some people’s lives are currently occupied by working their socks off to care for us, provide for our needs, or put strategies into place that protect as many of us as possible. To this group of people we say a heartfelt thank you.
But what of the uncertainty of our present time? Many of us in the past have had the experience of awakening from a dream, paralyzed with fear, unable to speak or perhaps even move? Some feel that living life at the moment is like doing that for real. Let’s face it – life before Covid-19 had the capacity to throw us its share of challenges, difficulties, and struggles that could be frightening, and cause us to respond like we do at the end of those terrible dreams. And now we face a much bigger challenge, and we’re all facing it together. There’s no-one who can say “I’m not affected”. We’re all in this together.
And that phrase evokes another – that of the ‘wartime spirit’ – the time when World War II caused entire sectors across the UK to grind to a halt, people’s everyday lives were disrupted, and everybody came together with a strong sense of community spirit. Today, life as we know it has been put on hold too. All sorts of people and groups are making bold gestures, and that’s exactly what we need to boost morale and encourage a sense of togetherness that will ensure we’re in the best possible position to take on the challenges ahead. If a ‘wartime spirit’ enables more generosity and positive initiatives during these uncertain times then I am all for it. But I’m guessing that fear lurks behind the community spirit just as it did then.
Fear can either disable or enable us. We each have that choice – although I think most of us will have times when we experience both extremes regardless of our prominent trait. I’m doing what I can as a minister to encourage others, especially in the local business community who I know from my chaplaincy experience. But I was struck this week by something a friend said. She’s a chaplain in Scotland, and admitted to feeling a bit ropey on Tuesday. She said that she was giving herself permission to feel what she was feeling – then added that
the Christian faith is based on God becoming human, not humans becoming God.
That is so true. We will all have good days and bad days in the current situation. Although we may develop coping mechanisms, or learn to hide our interior reactions, it’s important that we acknowledge them – to ourselves at least. There are no easy answers at the moment, nor easy roads to follow. But I leave you with a quote from Nelson Mandela:
I learned that courage was not the absence of fear, but the triumph over it. The brave are not those who do not feel afraid but those who conquer that fear.
Associated image is by ambermb via Pixabay