Thursday, May 19, 2011

but fear itself

I would like to take this moment to give everyone else the credit for this post. I had something very specific in mind that I was gonna post about, mainly apologizing for being behind on posting and commenting, followed by a little bit of the blame game on Blogger for throwing up on the only two days last week that I actually had time to post, and then following it up by giving you guys some spiffy updates on what I've been up to.

But then I read my dear friend Robin's letters to her father who has probably less than two weeks to live. And I read my best friend Alyssa's post about how her sixth graders fear that this Saturday will be the end of the world and how frustrated that makes her feel. So this is what I came up with instead, because instead of telling you what I wanted to say, I listened to what some of you might like to hear.

Despite what the news these days might try to convince you of, fear is not a new thing. Oh, no. Fear has been around for hundreds of thousands of years. Millions, if you think back to probably how terrified the little itty bitty dinosaurs were of the really really big dinosaurs. Fear is what kept us in our caves during lightening storms thousands of years ago, fear is what kept us from eating that bright red plant that turned out to be poisonous hundreds of years ago, fear is what keeps us from running naked in traffic (fear on more than one level on that last one, if we're gonna be honest. I am not brave enough to jog naked.) Fear keeps us alive, keeps us alert, keeps us safe.

But fear has a season. It has an expiration date, it has a time and place where it is no longer needed and no longer useful and IT EXPIRED YESTERDAY. We have lived with fear for so long that these days we breathe it and think it's air. And then we wonder why we're choking. We find it normal to be afraid, possibly even wise, and we exist in such a constant state of fear that it controls the way we think and move and breathe. And all the ways that we DON'T think, or move, or breathe. All the ways that we just stare, like a deer caught in the headlights, and read the doom and gloom of a society and a world that would keep us afraid for the sheer fact that we PAY THEM to keep us afraid. You and I subscribe every day, line up for it, give us this day our daily fear, and when we run out of things to be afraid of we create more things to be afraid of. Give me the number of terrorists you think we should kill before you start to feel safe again and I will show you what fear really is. Tell me the number of people in your neighborhood whom you wish worshiped and looked the same as you and I will show you what fear really is.

Because fear is a bottomless well that you are dumping your food into and then waiting beside it, starving, for the bones to be spat back up. And when nothing happens, when you still do not feel safe or full, you start pouring yourself into that well, until there is nothing left of you but emptiness.

It's tempting to think that the world is chaotic, dark, troubling and, yes, perhaps ending. That things are getting worse, that the greedy are getting greedier and the poor are getting poorer. But being afraid or angry doesn't make these things go away. Fear doesn't offer solutions, and it doesn't bring us closer together. You think the nut who came up with the idea that the Rapture is on May 21st did it so that we could all come together as one, so we can all learn how to love each other and accept each universally, regardless of nationality, sexual orientation, religious creed, race, or sex? Do you think this guy wants peace on earth?

No. He doesn't. He's not interested in the least. Because last of all, but never to be forgotten, is that fear has an agenda. It will fight to keep you looking only at the surface of things so that you forget to live your life, so that you stop seeing, really SEEING, people. It will fight to keep you locked indoors all day and suspicious of others. It will fight to keep you fighting with so many others, others that you could just as easily love.

Love is the most amazing gift we are given, and the choices we make are what define us. Love in the face of fear is what sends us across borders and across cultural lines, it's what lets us treat homeless people like humans and lets us write beautiful, incredibly strong letters to our parents in their last days. It lets us carry our strength inside us, our faith, and keeps us connecting with each other when it feels like all hope is gone.

Love is what not only lets us live in the face of fear, but also helps us overcome it.

26 comments:

Heather Taylor said...

I have nothing but intense love for this post Tracy. I agree fully, everything you wrote I could hear my mind screaming "Yes, yes," in response. Nothing would get accomplished if we were to sit in our homes every day and quietly do nothing- and life would never be lived to the fullest either.

Marion said...

Awesome, smart, wise post, girlie. The world can't end as long as I'm in the middle of reading a good book which is every day of my life. :-)

Love & Blessings,
Marion

rosaria said...

Beautiful! This post should be shared all over.

JJ said...

I have a somewhat different view of fear. That is not to say I disagree with you. I have done just about everything one can do in life, and I never hesitate to seek new adventures. Seldom have I been afraid of anything. However, I do think of fear as a good thing. It keeps us cautious, so it keeps us safe. Doomsday nuts never fit into the equation, and frightening children is intolerable. Nevertheless, I think fear is what you make it, and I make everything positive.

Anthony Duce said...

I’m so glad you changed the subject. Your words are reassuring. I agree with you completely on what fear is. And the thoughts on love are helpful. Mostly though there is a need to think and try to understand both emotions, and why we have them. It will make the loving easier.

Ed Pilolla said...

terrific ride, this was. love and fear. does faith transform our fear into love? what is faith but trust? these sure are worthy subjects, especially as we progress. thanks for this. i really like the positive energy you write with:)

Lira said...

I DID want to hear this. Thanks for another great post.

Len♥reNeverM♥re said...

yay-yay!
Fear is definitely the opposite of LOVE! or as I always say, "Lurrrve"

A New England Girl said...

I love this post. And I especially love the very last line of this post. What an incredibly moving and beautifully written letter. Thank you for sharing it! I'm going to send quite a few people this way, especially those who need a little bit of a wake up call in this department. :)
xoxo.

Joker_SATX said...

Great post! A couple of corrections though. Love is not the greatest gift we are given. The Greatest gift we are given is time.

When you are out of time...you are out of love...you are out of fear..you are out of everything.

And time is so precious that once it's gone..if you missed it, you can never get it back. You can always regenerate love or fear...never time.

With that said...I agree with your post however. There are really only two base emotions...Love and Fear. People say Hate..but Hate is a derivative of Fear. One hates because one fears....

Wine and Words said...

I agree fear has an agenda. I also agree it has a purpose, which is often distorted and exploited. Ah, nothing is really simple anymore. And then also it is. Perhaps things can be so simple we no longer see them through the complexity of our effort.

Great post. Doomsday! Ha! You think he would have been discredited after his last prediction of Sept. 1994. I'm posting a fiction piece about it tomorrow :)

krista said...

you are fantastic.

drollgirl said...

i'd like to say that fear was "passe", but sadly i can't! we buy into it a lot. and the news profits from it, so it is thrown at us constantly. but sometimes it is nice to say no to it. i will not fret about a terrorist attack on los angeles. ugh. if it happens, deal with it then. but worrying about ever little thing in life is exhausting (i would know, as i come from a family of worriers). i think some worries are justified, but it is nice to dismiss some fears and get on with life.

g. fox said...

says rumi: "Your task is not to seek for love, but merely to seek and find all the barriers within yourself that you have built against it."

with utmost respect for who you are,
g*

Nick Thomas said...

pretty cool post, m'dear

kj said...

ah tracy, what an interesting post and how interesting you are.

i thought of two things reading this:

there was a woman who was terrified of being mugged, so for 25 years she never left her house, and she was never mugged. and she never left her house....

&

i tell my clients; we all have an inside burger alarm. it can go off often. the trick is to know when the alarm is warning of present actual danger, for which you need to act, or, often the case, of something long past, in which case you need not do anything but understand and move on. big difference.....


kj

Dave said...

Very well said. Love does indeed trump fear. (but you wont find me jogging naked either!)

Red Shoes said...

What I have come to realize... is that people like this play to our emotions... I guess we all have some fear of 'something'...

I feel for the school children that were so worried and affected by this...

This is a very good post...

~shoes~

Barbara said...

One could only wish that most of our fears were as simple to vanquish as the end of the world silliness that took place on the 21st.
Fear can paralyze some which is NOT healthy, but a little fear is a good thing for most of us.

Eric W. Trant said...

Fear has an expiration date. How true. Funny that we never learn that, though, no matter how many times bad things ~don't~ happen, the one time lightning really does strike, we look and point and say, SEE! I told you to be afraid!

We forget about all those other billions of times every day lightning didn't strike and bad things didn't happen.

I will now quote MIKE TYSON, a man wise beyond what credit the world gives him:

"Fear is your best friend or your worst enemy. It's like fire. If you can control it, it can cook for you; it can heat your house. If you can't control it, it will burn everything around you and destroy you. If you can control your fear, it makes you more alert, like a deer coming across the lawn." Mike Tyson

He also said: "Everybody's got plans...until they get hit."


- Eric

Two Tigers said...

Guess we are all still here! I'm glad - I would have hated having the world end before I could read this wonderful, thoughtful post!

Gwen said...

This is amazing! And so very true my friend.

drollgirl said...

totally off topic, but i hear you on the thor thing. HOT HOT HOT. such a good and fun movie, and he sure helped make it that way. needless to say, i want to see it again! whee!

Kris said...

Great post! I see a lot of fear around the office disguised as power. Get a grip! :o)

ps:
Stop by because I've got the scoop on a giveaway trip to Holland!

Kris said...

Hello, lovely

Wanted to let you know about a giveaway:

http://www.beholdthemetatron.com/2011/05/foodie-giveaway.html

Eric W. Trant said...

Wait. I already posted on this topic. Sure hope you're busy doing movies or some such and neglecting your blog-loves for good reason.


- Eric

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