fear / nourish / reflections

on fear and love

The “do-it-yourself” life — the life where you are in charge of figuring it out, of making it count, of cleaning up the mess that it is — that life is not becoming on any of us. It’s just slavery, slavery to fear: fear that we won’t figure it out, make it count, clean it up, fear that in the end we weren’t what we could have been, should have been.

We were never meant to be slaves; when we are, it is never anything but tragic.

Fear is a desperate grab at the lie that if I don’t take care of myself, no one else will. Fear hisses that I have to have the answers, I have to have a plan, I have to be in control, I have to be accepted, I have to have enough, I have to know that I’m OK, because if I can get all of that to work out, I will be saved.

It’s convincing, but it’s not true.

If fear enslaves us, then it’s love that sets us free. Love says I am accepted, that I am OK “as-is”. Love invites me to take a rest from trying so hard. Love whispers, “I’ve got this. Trust me.”

If fear destroys us, it is love that gives us life. Love came to do what we can’t do, to be who we can’t be. Love says what little I am is enough because it will make up the difference. Love stirs up the power that already lives in us.

But it’s not as easy as all that. Even as we take this cautious step away from fear and toward love, we have to be OK that we are not yet who we were meant to be. We don’t get to be free from fear permanently, not now, but we get to be as free as we choose to be right now. We get to have tastes — quick nibbles and luxurious  chugs — of pure love.

We hold these tastes as a promise of what is not yet fully here, so we carry both the delight of expectation and the pain of waiting. Some days we feel the one more than the other and that is OK.


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