When most fear is gone

Published 7:00 pm Wednesday, July 17, 2019

As I age, I realize with gratefulness, fear of most things seems to be gone, except for my fear of snakes. If I live to be older than Methuselah, on my last day, I would still be afraid of those creepy, crawly critters.

During our lives, we all endure moments of terror. Several years ago, I was on a flight when the plane abruptly dropped from the sky, causing drinks to fly to the ceiling and eliciting screams from passengers.

The young man sitting beside me turned to me after the jet decided to remain airborne, and asked, “Ma’am, I fly often, and that took my breath away with a bit of fear. How did you stay so calm?”

I thought about his question a bit before I answered, “Well, I am not sure, but I believe it has to do with trust and faith. After living through tragedies plus many trials and tribulations, I realize I made it through them all usually finding it was for a reason. So, why be afraid, except for snakes. One should always remain cautious of those squirmy slitherers! Have you seen that movie, “Snakes on Planes?” Now, that is my idea of fear!”

He roared with laughter as those around us wiped up spilled coffee and dried their tears.

When I was young, I was fearful of many things. I remember being terrified that death would take away my parents or my brother. I feared monsters in the closet and zombies on television. Storms didn’t scare me until I saw a tornado turn a house into toothpicks.

When I became a mother, fear for my children became constant. I tried not to worry, but a mother always does. When they all began driving, my heart would race as if I had seen those snakes on planes! And, when I watched them fly off into the world, my worry was calmed by praying for them to have a safe journey.

We go through life with a bit of fear by our side. What will tomorrow bring? Who will leave without saying goodbye? When will it be my day to bid farewell?  However, we must never let fear become the focus of any day.

It is suitable for us to be cautious in making decisions and always wise to look for snakes before stepping blindly into a forest. A dose of fear can keep us from doing dangerous, dumb stunts. However, when fear paralyzes us to the point of not trying new, exciting adventures, then we need to seek the counsel of the Wise One.

I was playing golf yesterday with good friends. I am not sure how the conversation started as we walked off the last green, but our friend Mike made a startling statement, “Take the fear out of your problems.”

How many times do we put off solving a problem because we are afraid of the results? What if we fail? What will folks think of us? The key to solving an issue is taking the fear out of the problem so we can view a solution. Isn’t it better to try and fail, rather than not try at all? Not trying is a failure. We can find the necessary courage to solve a problem when we seek the counsel of the Wise One.

My father was in the hospital many times during the last few years of his life due to congestive heart failure. One November Monday he was admitted again with the same symptoms. His mood was jovial, causing all the nurses to laugh at his shenanigans. By Thursday, we all knew Dad’s heart would not allow his witty ways to continue.

“Dad, are you scared?” I asked with tears brimming my eyes,

His response, I shall never forget, “What is there to be scared of?”

A few hours later, the angels took him to meet the Wise One who had replaced his fear with faith.

Looking back upon my years, I realize that I did survive the death of my brother and parents. The fear of life without them was replaced with the courage to live. I found those monsters never came out of the closet, and I still have not encountered a zombie. My children continue to drive cars, and I continue to pray that wherever they go, they arrive safely and avoid those snakes hidden in the grass.

I listened when the Wise One said, “Fear not, for I am with you. Do not be dismayed. I am your God. I will strengthen you; I will help you; I will uphold you with my victorious right hand.”

And, I believed him.