I will not lie to you. It’s been a hard two weeks. I have been mostly silent on social media. Sickness, crummy winter weather, a crazy schedule with too many responsibilities, the January blues times two. (And many of you right now are turning into icepops at below zero temps. Please stay warm and safe!)
And to top these woes, which are likely yours as well, already it begins: the drums are beating for the next presidential election. (Oh no! Please not that! we all say, twitching, blinking, post-traumatically, still scraping slime from our skin, digging mud from our ears.)
When the walls close in this way, I face it like any other spiritually minded person: I make cookies. Then I eat too many. My next strategy, to get me away from the cookies—— I go for a walk or a drive. Would you like to come with me for a moment? Let’s escape to an island in the North Pacific, with just one road out of town, and see what we can see. (Anything but a screen . ..)
The beauty of this earth reminds me what is real. And what to properly dread and fear.
It is not weakness to fear. We are human, not gods so it is right for us to fear. There are thousands of fears to choose from. And If you do not choose them, they will choose you. So let us choose our fears well.
Because I cannot control others, especially politicians, Here are the fears I choose:
Fear an Impervious Heart,
that gathers all its muscle into stone walls and safety, refusing to see, to hear, to enter into other’s rejoicing and sorrows, a heart that gains sad strength through dispassion, protection through disaffection, contentment through ignorance.
especially the kind that seeps in under your skin and twists your words, clouding your eyes, making all people look alike, turning your hungry neighbor into a far-away stranger, turning the far-away stranger into a faceless apparition, turning every politician into a demon, and everyone who disagrees with you into an enemy.
who lies in wait around every corner and soapbox, insisting on attention, elevation, the proper introductions and prostrations---or at least some brief public acknowledgment that we are, in many ways, just a little superior to others. (Oh sigh, Lord forgive me!)
the sly insistence on "quality," our slavery to the choicest foods, the softest beds, the shortest trails, the plushest cars, the happiest feelings, the brightest churches, the best retirement, the easiest death.
when it preaches a loyalty to the “true self” above loyalty to any other, and when it finds that self more lovely than any other.
so much contentment with who we are and how we live we will allow no risk, no change, no growth, no relinquishment of our American rights and our goods, no sacrifice, no reduction in all we know we are entitled to—-because we’re old. (In all we know we're entitled to---because we're middle-aged. In all we know we're entitled to---because we're young.)
Fear End-Time Prophecy and Despair,
those clever routes to excuses, that all is hopeless, nothing can be done, we can’t help anyway, God is sovereign, the world is soon to end, ignore the human crises, the toxic health of the planet; camp out like Jonah over the world and wait, with gloomy hands folded, for the inevitable (whew!) fiery end. Yes. fear this.
and its prophets and evangelists who offer national salvation through their political party; who threaten national damnation through the other party; who teach us we love God best by serving our country first. Who blind us to the only kingdom we are called to give our lives to.
Fear the enemy of our body-and-soul
who wants us to believe this life is all there is, so don’t withhold whatever we need to make our short passage safer, happier, more exciting, more successful, more enriching and, above all, more American, meaning, more individually free, prosperous and authentic, no matter what it costs.
And above all,
Fear the Maker of our Body-and-Soul,
which is to say, LOVE the Maker of our body-and-Soul.
He is our Father, our Redeemer, our Brother, our Savior,
our Breath, our Light, our Bread, our Blood, our Hope. Our Lord.
Fear Him. This is the only fear that dispels death
and every fear
not born of love.
“Where God’s love is, there is no fear, because God’s perfect love drives out fear. “ 1 John 4:18
Friends, we’re okay. We’re going to make it through the elections.
(If you find some truth here, would you consider sharing?)
wIth love and gratitude,