Monday, November 30, 2009

Fear

Aren't we all afraid of something? Jesus said "Be not afraid" but do we really listen and try to follow that advice, or do we cover ourselves with our fears like a comfortable old overcoat and wear them wherever we go?

My husband is afraid. Last week Paul checked out a brand-new book from the library and decided he would bring it to work to read during his break. He came home from work that day and asked me if I had seen his book. "No, you took it to work with you." I replied. The next day he returned from work triumphant. He had found his book...on the side of the road. It seems he had set it on top of his car as he unlocked the door, and forgot all about it. He found it on the side of the road, rain-soaked, muddy and with a broken binding. It seems that sturdy book took a ten mile ride on top of Paul's car before it skidded off to the ditch.

Now, Paul is afraid to return the book to the library because he worries that the librarian will yell at him and cause him to blush, and possibly cry. (Truthfully, our family has a very bad reputation at our public library. We are much despised for returning items late and in poor condition. I'll never forget the time little Justin broke a library CD in half and then stuck it in our computer to see what would happen. I'll tell you what happened. A $65.00 fine is what happened.) So, Paul is justified in his fear. Still, he can't get around it. He has to face up to his fear and return the book, confess his crime and pay retribution.

I'm afraid, too. I'm afraid of how reckless my children are. I'm afraid when Jack tells me that while I was at work, Joe set up a mattress at the top of the stairs and they all slid down to the bottom on it, again and again. I'm afraid when Justin shows me a video he made of himself attempting to jump over the garbage can on his scooter and I hear the sound of Mary laughing as she watches Justin fall and practically break his neck.

Fear is irrational. I'm afraid of aging. I'm afraid that as I turn 44 years old, my entire body will begin to fall apart, and my mental capacities will quickly diminish.

But I know better than to be afraid. I just need to remind myself of the lovely words from 1 John and the tremendous Lover who is the only One whose Love can remove all of my unfounded fears and cast them far, far away from me...

“There is no fear in love. Perfect love casts out all fear.”
1 John 4:18


I live inside of fear.
I cower under its shadow.
I carry it with me wherever I go.

But Your love is stronger than my fear.
You shower it down from the heavens
In generous rainfall
That enriches my soul.

You wash the fear
Into the stream
And carry it far away from me.

I am left with the glow
Of peaceful love
Finding it in all people
All things and
All places.

Fear trembles and runs in your presence.
Thank You Lord, for Your perfect love. Amen.

18 comments:

  1. Beautiful reflection, Anne. At least you own up to it a t the library. I am sure there are many who don't. As always, you are in my prayers.

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  2. You wash the fear
    Into the stream
    And carry it far away from me.

    I just love that line, it is so soothing. Anne, I love this post! It is so real and I can soooooo relate to it! :)

    I wish I could met you and your family! God Bless

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  3. This post is so me.

    I live in fear of getting "the phone call" every day in the winter as my husband drives through horrendous snow storms and on icy roads to and from work. That's a real big one for me. I spend the hour after he leaves the house and the one after he leaves work for home in a kind of desperate fearful prayer.

    I keep trying to surrender that fear to God and pray for my husband's safety in peace. I wish I could say I have victory over the terror I feel that I'll lose him and trust him to the Lord but I haven't gotten that far yet.

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  4. I borrowed Three to Get Married (Sheen) from our Church library. I spilled coffee all.over.it. I fessed up straight away (with a new copy in hand) to the DRE...who was shocked I would fess up and buy a new book. The book isn't ruined, just terribly stained. I'm reading it now (it needed more time to dry out and by then I was into another couple of books).

    I try to remember how my reaction to something is seen by others, especially my children. I can't always be the best example, but I try. Maybe you'll get the librarian on a good day.

    I guess you could say my greatest fear is being a stumbling block to others Faith in Christ.

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  5. Good Morning Anne
    What a lovely post! Yep, fear is a very real and human thing. It is sometimes difficult to remember that Our Heavenly Father is always there with us in our fear and worry. I guess that is something we just have to pray about.
    Thank you for a lovely post and a nice blog too.

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  6. Do not be afraid, for I have redeemed you.

    I have called you by your name; you are mine.

    Isaiah 43:1-5

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  7. If I ever win the lottery, there will be an addition to the WA public library...the Bender Family Library Wing will have a display case at the entry for all the mishaps/accidents so that other families will not fear what yours has been through! Display will include a large pair of scissors!

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  8. I want to know what happens at the library. In our town, about once a year they let you bring in a canned good and in exchange, wipe out all your fines/fees. It's great!

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  9. Thank you for the beautiful post, for letting us in on your fears. For the longest time I had fears that seemed to me completly rational. I had a good excuse for every one of them Fear of parties. Fear of coffee and doughnuts after 9:00 Mass on Sunday mornings. Fear of speaking in public. But over the years, through grace and prayer I've come to realize that my fears were excuses for other issues, like laziness or pride. Over the years I've learned to appreciate the great gift of humility that is there for our asking. Through my striving for humbleness and humility before my co-workers, friends, family, Our Lord, I've seen most of those fears just plain dissapear. To me, it seems as though pride is behind most irrational fears. Following in the footsteps of St. Francis, I humble myself before all and The Lord.

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  10. Aaahhhh, I feel SO MUCH BETTER NOW, knowing that it's not just MY kids, LOL.
    And having just turned 45 in October...I must break the news to you that THAT particular fear of yours isn't so far-fetched, hee hee.
    Great post Anne...someone told me that it says "Be not afraid" 365 times in Scripture...one for each day of the year! Perhaps if I go visit John's blog and ask a favor of him...he'll COUNT and see if it's TRUE! LOL

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  11. I can relate, about the library, the kids, the age...Ugggh! Thanks for sharing the prayer. It is beautiful and so are you and your family!

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  12. Our library is really good about things like that, I often forget to return a book or two and they automatically renew it for me and if I lose a book they keep renewing it till I find it.
    I am well known for driving away with things on top of my car:)
    Your poem-prayer was beautiful! All your writing has a poetic ring to my ears, you have a way with words.

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  13. Fear trembles and runs in your presence.
    Thank You Lord, for Your perfect love. Amen.

    I had giggles while reading your post. I really enjoyed coming here. I also loved that prayer you left for us to pray with you.:-)

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  14. Great post. I am like you. Afraid. A big worrier! And like Rachel M, I am so afraid of "the phone call." I wonder, how much time do we waste by being afraid?? God bless!

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  15. Um, I'd probably just drop it in the return slot (preferably drive-thru if available), and see what happened.

    I was talking about "getting old" (sorry I know that sounds annoying to people who aren't 25), but my aunt told me, "Maria, do not waste another second feeling old. Life is way too short." It is. My dad will be 60 in 6 months. I don't know how much time we have together - I don't know if he'll really know my children. Meanwhile, I'm having nightmares about finding a grey hair. It's all relative. But it's the way God made us to go. At least on earth.

    Have you heard the song, "Remember When" by Alan Jackson? One life helps me through difficult/fearful life changes: "Life was changed, disassembled, rearranged." That's exactly what happens. You're the oldest you've ever been, and the youngest you'll ever be again.

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  16. Maria, about finding that first grey hair...

    After you get the first five you stop noticing. Yeah, I'm speaking from experience. :)

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  17. When it comes to owning up to things, I always remember what a Marine Corps lieutenant colonel who worked for me used to say whenever he found he had screwed up, "It's better to go ugly early." He was, of course, right. Owning up right off is better than being found out later. I know, it is hard to do, but if I hesitate, I always remember that "it's better to go ugly early" and step out to get the ugly over with quickly!

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  18. Here from Elizabeth's site.

    We were big library patrons and so suffered the inevitable consequences of late or (occasionally) damaged books. At least your family is reading--that's a plus!

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