Love and Fear – Part Deux

August 17th, 2012 § Leave a Comment

The older I get, the things about which I am certain become fewer and fewer. There used to be so much “black and white” – clear, bold, behind hard lines with a sliver of gray between them. Now, the lines are ruptured – the gray overflowing. I don’t relish it. “Black and white” is simpler, clearer. It’s a easier world to live in. And besides, I like being right; I like knowing. I don’t like uncertainty – the disquieting affects of the fog. Yet, I get the sense that I’m in a better place. So much of life happens in the gray. I can stand on a box and pontificate about how life ought to be, but I’d rather live. More importantly, I want my kids to live. And if it means, I need to wade through the gray to help them identify a few markers, well then “Small price to pay.” Don’t you think? So, come on. Let us wade through the gray together.

Let’s start with those mushrooms … I mean fear. I think a good place to start with fear is to look at the self. In other posts I’ve written my belief that very early in a person’s life, there is a look inward (My guess is that it begins about the time a child becomes aware of the shame of nakedness). The soul is brutally honest with what it sees. And although we do not have the cognitive sophistication to clearly interpret and articulate what we see, I think every person arrives in his or her own way to the same assessment: There is a wanting. A lack. Weakness. Limited. Broken.

By these words I’m not suggesting everyone sees themselves as some terrible mistake. I think it begins with the natural limitations we all have. We cannot see into the future. We hunger and thirst. We need sleep. We die. A child is more acutely aware of this because they are dependent.

An honest look gives rise to fear. It is at this place that this very basic fear gets fueled by lies, and spins into some toxic stuff. The environment and our fragile self make us acutely vulnerable to this bad fear – dread, loathing. It is at this very same place that the basic fear can also be seasoned with truth. In an environment of love and trust, a parent can collect the honest pieces gathered by a child and erect a coherent picture. “You are a person. Frail and imperfect. And I love you. Because I do, I need to teach you that you are not the center of the universe. Forget ruling the world, as great as you are, you don’t even rule this house.”

Even fear is not a matter “black and white”. It’s easier to say it’s all bad, and try to rid ourselves of it. The trouble is I don’t think that’s true. In the gray there is some good, healthy fear – a fear based on truth. We need to find it and guide our children to it.




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