Living is fear is not new to me. My counselor pointed out I lived a fear based life. My childhood revolved around jumping through ever changing hoops to avoid some punishment. Then there were the weirdness of some punishments I preferred. If I complained about eating a meal with bell pepper in it, I would be put on bread and water as a punishment. Later in life I found out I was extremely allergic to bell pepper and it caused internal bleeding. Bread and water is still a favorite comfort food. Now, this past week the whole world is living in fear. Mind you the virus was discovered in December. Over 3 months ago. Not a peep was said. The doctor that discovered it was sworn to silence, the disease killed him. Suddenly this hit the news. First a quaking of fear than an avalanche swept the World. I was talking to a gentleman on the phone and he stated the only thing we have to fear is fear itself. I replied, “That’s true but fear has gone crazy.” The cost in lost job, lost business, lost education is mounting daily, yet the fear is maintaining its unhealthy grip. For the most part, I feel calm. I checked in with myself to make sure I was not emotionally checked out. Nope, I am feeling a variety of feelings. When the toilet paper crisis hit I was calm, because I had a whole stack of it already at home. (Habit I picked up after Mount Saint Helen’s blew when we lived in Spokane, Washington. Stores closed for 3 days and the first thing they ran out of was toilet paper.) When the shelves started being wiped out, I was calm because of childhood starvation I keep a healthy supply at home ready to use. When I was told to work from home I was worried that wouldn’t pay me. So far I’m still getting an income. Many are not so fortunate. I read the email telling me church was closed for a season. No problem I will study at home and not feel guilty for the times I felt like I had to go to church. For me it is a bit of a reprieve. People lamented how their lives were changing, other than not going to work every day, not much changed for me. What I learned from living a fear based life as a child, there are worse things than dying and fear’s appetite is never ending. Keep feeding it and it keeps growing. More people will be devastated by the fear than the disease.
Years ago I heard a story of a king leaving his country for a short time to visit another kingdom. On his way, he met pestilence. Pestilence told him he was going to take 500 of his people. The King felt sad but understand that these things happen. When the kind returned 50,000 were dead. The king summoned Pestilence, the king raged, “You said were only taking 500.” Pestilence replied, “I did only take 500, Fear took the rest.”
I am troubled by the wave of fear that is sweeping the World. I am troubled by those that take this as an opportunity to capitalize and make a profit on fear and sickness. I am grateful for those that are finding ways to stop the wave of fear. Italians singing from their balconies, individuals giving away rolls of toilet paper, people checking in on each other. I look for people choosing to respect recommendations yet refusing to give into the fast sweeping fear.
Part of the answer for me is my faith in Christ and there is more to life and living than the few years I spend here. I am at peace and fully aware that I am in the high risk group. I make choices based on my understanding of the World and my need to serve others. My counselor once asked me how I could believe in Jesus and a loving Heavenly Father when so many terrible things happened to me. My answer was simple, “In my darkest moments, my faith in Jesus and my belief that Heavenly Father is a loving being was all I had left.”