Looking Fear in the Eye

Print Original by Natalie Parsons

I have the unique ability to grasp a Daddy long legs by its spindly legs and gracefully move it from a sleeping bag in the tent to the great outdoors.  In my family there is a general fear of spiders, and I am chief spider remover in the household.  I inherited this skill from my mother, who was the relocator of spiders in my family of origin.

Fear is in the air these days, and it is not just Halloween.  Partly the pandemic, partly the upcoming elections, partly the need for racial reckoning… all  the unknown in our season forthcoming.  Some people are energized by fear.  Others do all in their power to stop fear from being a factor in their lives.  We move back and forth on a pendulum of courage and timidity.  Hard times increase a desire for comfort; however, voices in our society are simultaneously demanding change.  

I have always been drawn to the phrase from the Bible, “Perfect love casts out all fear.”  To me, it illuminates a quest to move us beyond and through fear, and arrive at something new.  I imagine love as an enchantment that convinces fear to become its better self.  Bravery does not require sweeping strategy or large scale impact.  Sometimes fear is cast out simply by walking through the front door.

Spiders will exist long after the pandemic, as will racial inequity and poverty.  While it may seem prudent to wait this out, to bide our time, there is a deep societal plea to rise to the occasion, to summon our energy in the face of deep need.  May we begin even now, in what seems to be a scary season of our world to find inner resolve, communal agency, and courage that lies within our grasp.

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