I’d like to think I’m not a fearful person. But I am. I never look like I worry, but I do. A lot.
This week I made the mistake of very publicly bringing up my fears about coronavirus in the workplace. I don’t mind catching the flu, but my wife is pregnant and the flu can adversely affect our baby in utero. I said some uncomfortable things in front of coworkers, when I’m supposed to be the calm voice of a chaplain.
I was not helpful. I probably incited panic and anxiety. I apologized for my behavior. Maybe the fear of being a dad in our current world really got to me. It was still not a good look.
I’m trying to balance the fear we‘re experiencing versus being calm, safe, and rational. I want to validate our anxiety without letting it consume us. I want to be vigilant, but not so on edge that I’m scaring everyone else. I want to say “God is in control,” but also run screaming and lock every window. It’s a tough, strange balance.
We’ve seen where the fear can take us: there’s been multiple racist assaults against Asians, blaming them for the pandemic. We’ve seen misinformation about drinking water and eating garlic and avoiding packages from China. We’ve seen the ugly finger-pointing of political leaders using the panic for vote-bait, promoting xenophobia and catering to the worst leanings of their base. And everyone—including me here—has some take about what to do, how to be, what to say.
I’m trying to stay cool. To be both cautious and optimistic. It’s hard. It’s scary right now. I keep thinking of raising a daughter in this world and how I’m so incapable, unsure, uncertain, lacking the wisdom to say the right thing, to be a pillar when she needs me. I hope I can be strength for her even when I have so little of it in myself.
I’m trying to validate fear without giving into it, to let fear ask questions and seek wisdom and move towards compassionate curiosity, rather than hate or rash decisions. God be with us, who navigates our fears, who hears our worries, who gives us wisdom amidst division, who offers us a peace like no other.
2 thoughts on “May Our Fears Seek Wisdom”
What we focus on becomes our world. Fear can become contagious and so often what we fear does not come. I love Psalm 91 which talks about being in the shadow or presence of God Almighty. It says that we will not fear the arrows that fly by day or the pestilence that stalks at midnight. God has gifted you with a pregnant wife with a daughter to come. He is protecting you and yours. He loves you much!
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I think I am old enough that the fear sweeping the world doesn’t resonate with me. The selfishness that this pandemic has cultivated in so many people I do find most disturbing. Knee-jerk decisions by leaders that are not based on sound science troubles me. They have closed all our nursing homes and seniors residences to visitors. How cruel. Many family members literally have to dress and feed their loved ones, and this new regulation is an attack on the family, a contempt for those who need help and a condemnation of our system that does not provide enough staff to look after all the needs of our seniors. I guess that is anger, not fear.
Peace, somehow in this
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