It’s been nearly 2 years since I last wrote. Much has transpired in that time, and trust me when I tell you it’s been an unsettling but awesome journey. New friendships, a huge career shift, it’s been a roller coaster, but it’s been wonderfully transformative and I’m in a better place as a result of it all.
I’ve actually felt a little… it’s hard to describe, but like I should have been writing during that time; though I didn’t feel fully compelled or motivated. I have several topics I’ve wanted to write about in that time, but the timing or words simply didn’t seem right.
That said, over the years, I’ve been asked many times to write a book, and it looks as though I may just do that. I’ll keep you posted, but I finally have a title, vision and theme in mind which is more than I’ve ever had before. It’s still coming together, but at least there’s theme and structure now and for that I’m grateful.
In part, this post may well become part of a chapter in the book.
This morning, a friend shared something with me which made me stop and carefully think. Considering my prologue, you might say I’ve not done that for two years. While I’ve come close to writing more than a few times during that period, today I felt the full weight of motivation and inspiration… so here I go.
My friend sent this text:
“Good Quote… Fear is a natural reaction to fear”, to which I replied, “I’ll have to consider that quote.”
“…. Oops”, was their reply so I responded with, “That’s a good thing… It’s the sort of thing that inspires me to write.”
The next text was, “Fear is a natural reaction to moving closer to the truth”, which fully fueled and inspired me to provide my response in this post.
Almost exactly four years ago, and just prior to my moving to my new home, I wrote about my then thoughts and experience surrounding fear:
“Life lies beyond our fears” – https://wordpress.com/post/camerahiker.wordpress.com/187
The fear I wrote about was more about the call to step outside our comfort zone among other things. In this context however, my thoughts and understanding follow a related but different line of thought.
“Fear is a natural reaction to fear.” I suppose it can be. I might be fearful of something simply because I’m influenced by someone else’s fear; but I think for the most part, fear is acknowledgement of our uncertainty or perception of the unknown rather than a reaction to fear itself. Fear can also be a healthy way of us becoming aware that something is wrong. Whatever the case, It is always wise to examine or at least consider our fear.
I’ve heard it said many times that fear is an unhealthy thing. I believe it can be both healthy and unhealthy depending on the circumstance. If you’re afraid of stepping too close to the edge of a cliff or a tall building because there’s no guard railing and strong wind gusts are blowing, your fear seems pretty reasonable. If you’re fearful of trying skydiving because you have no experience with it and are unsure about what might happen, that’s still a reasonable fear because you don’t know what you don’t know. If however, your fear of heights or falling keeps you from investigating your curiosity and experiencing life (unless it is wise or common sense to do so), well, that seems limiting to me. Fear is an unhealthy thing when it controls our behaviour to an extent where we remain limited, ignorant, don’t explore, learn or we keep ourselves from growth.
If you’re afraid to round a corner because you hear a low, rumbling growl and you happen to be hiking in a forest, your fear is probably serving you well and exploring further may find you as the lunch of a large animal. If your fear keeps you from finding the truth of a situation however… the possible loss of employment, a health matter, a troubled or strained relationship; then fear in that circumstance is definitely unhealthy.
Truth is nothing to be feared, which is in part my response to “Fear is a natural reaction to moving closer to the truth.” Personally, I feel that as we move closer to the truth, we experience freedom, though we may still fear what we might hear or learn as we become more aware of the circumstance, situation or reality. We may fear what the truth might be which is a state of living in illusion, but the truth will simply be the truth and no matter our fear, nothing can change it. Living in fear of the truth is a crippling experience and serves only to keep us bound in uncertainty. I’d rather someone tell me what I need to hear than tell me what I want to hear. I especially don’t want anyone in my life to fear (kindly) sharing truth with me. When sharing truth with those in our lives however, remember that it’s likely to be your “perspective” of the truth, so do so with kindness, humility and respect.
As we move closer toward truth and learn the truth of our reality, there is a freedom that we are given. Sure, the circumstance we’re learning about may be difficult to face, but facing the truth allows us to move quickly toward a healthier place. Unchallenged, fear may and likely will keep us from moving forward; but worse, it will cripple our growth and relationships. Even if we’re told a relationship is going to end (or worse), the truth gives us the opportunity to accept the situation and move forward toward new opportunity.
To get specific, a good friend of mine died from pancreatic cancer two years ago. He was one of the most courageous men I’ve ever known. At first, he was fearful, but he quickly moved past his fear, embraced the truth and accepted his new reality. From that point forward, he maximized every single moment, savouring each with joy and delight. In his life before his diagnosis, he was a fairly quiet and reserved man (though he definitely had his moments). During the last 5 months of his life however, I saw him live with vitality, freedom, elegance and courage. I know from time to time, he had fears, but he faced those fears and even allowed me to be a part of and face some of them with him. He faced those moments leaning into the truth, accepting what came which allowed him to experience the richness of the time he had remaining. I really miss my friend, but during those five months, he taught me that fearing the truth is the last thing I ever want to do. He taught me that fear was not a reaction to moving closer to the truth, but instead, it is an indication that we may be living in an illusion and need to seek truth.
In 1933, Franklin Delano Roosevelt said, “Only thing we have to fear is fear itself”. Those are brilliant words but for me, not quite complete. The long and short of FDR’s message though is that truth and reality is nothing to be feared and that living in illusion or supposition serves only to keep us paralyzed. In fact, truth should be sought and embraced at every opportunity.
Fear of the unknown can be healthy, because I think it naturally DRAWS is toward the truth if we’re seeking it. If that’s what was meant by “Fear is a natural reaction to moving closer to the truth”, I’m in full agreement, but I might say instead, “Fear is a natural way of knowing we have yet to learn the truth”. However it’s said, lean into the truth and accept it for what it is… because it’s simply the truth!