Saturday, March 16, 2013

Without Fear

Recently, my sister, Ashley, and my brother-in-law, Ben, were discussing love and fear. About how so frequently our decisions, and thus, our actions are based on one of the two. About how when we are living in a state of fear, we are often lacking the capacity to love.

"At least every hour," Ben said, "that's probably how often I think about how love and fear affect my daily life."

And Ashley said that sometimes she wonders if she's talking about it too much, because the concept is such a regular part of her thinking.

I told her she isn't talking about it too much because every time I hear it from her, I'm reminded of it's importance and probably couldn't hear it enough.

I'm a pro at making decisions based on fear:
I'll lose that if I...
He'll hate me if I...
She'll think this if I...
They might ____ if I...
If I vote for that person, he'll...


Surely, a careful mind weighs decisions based on pros and cons. But--on my best days---I can tell you precise moments in which I am being driven by fear or driven by love. And my gut knows it. And my soul knows it. And I know better.

It looks like avoiding an important discussion with my husband because I'd rather continue living in fear, than have to face and answer I'm afraid of.

It looks like cowering in the presence of my superior because I'm pretty sure she doesn't like me.

It looks like biting off more than I can chew because I'm absolutely sure that the someday the resources will run out and I'll be sorry I didn't hoard more than I needed.

It looks like assuming the worst about a situation because I think it's protecting me from pain or failure.

It looks like being afraid of the dark because it takes less energy than having faith in the light.


Fear is so often where we live that it takes a bright beacon of light to consider that there's any other way to live: from a place of love.

It's like people who take the time to create beautiful works of art in run-down parts of town just to make a dark place a little lighter.

It's like putting your heart out there in a vulnerable way because it's worth the risk to show the love.

It's like smiling at a stranger even though they may never smile back.

It's like giving up on conspiracy theories and "what ifs..." about the future because there is absolutely no way they are making me a better, more whole-hearted person today.

It's like living now because any other place (past or present) is rooted in fear and regret, whereas this moment holds so much joy.

It's like sitting and listening to a dear friend pour out their biggest, darkest, and worst fears and saying, "I'm so sorry. I hear you. I see you. It's going to be all right."

That is a "love that casts out all fear" in action.


The magazine I read this morning asked readers to consider, "What would you do if fear didn't hold you back?"

I'd stop worrying about the future.

I'd be completely un-attracted to trendy magazines.

I'd be less concerned with Facebook status's.

I'd trust my trust my husband 100% when he tells me how much he loves me.

I'd pursue a graduate degree with confidence and vigor.

I'd believe that my abilities are everything they need to be.

I'd live more fruitfully in the present moment.

I'd be more open to the world around me.

I'd live from a place of love.



5 comments:

Mindy said...

Yep.

I've been recently been holding in the Light and inquiring within the silence (Quaker service) the phrase, "perfect love casts out fear."

As a child I used to assume it meant "perfect love" quite literally... As in, a Higher Power's love, perfect at its very essence, in its very divine infallibility.

But in the Light, I've been thinking about how a perfect love can be one that is messy, imperfect, painful and full of mistakes, (fully human and flawed) but that casts out fear as it is strong, resilient and safe enough to withstand anything thrown at it.

Not sure if I'm able to articulate it as well as I would like... But it reverberates differently to me in that Light.


Mindy said...

Yep.

I've been recently been holding in the Light and inquiring within the silence (Quaker service) the phrase, "perfect love casts out fear."

As a child I used to assume it meant "perfect love" quite literally... As in, a Higher Power's love, perfect at its very essence, in its very divine infallibility.

But in the Light, I've been thinking about how a perfect love can be one that is messy, imperfect, painful and full of mistakes, (fully human and flawed) but that casts out fear as it is strong, resilient and safe enough to withstand anything thrown at it.

Not sure if I'm able to articulate it as well as I would like... But it reverberates differently to me in that Light.


Ashley Barber said...

One to consider adding to the list:

"I'd accept that I may not do or be these things right away or maybe even ever. But I'm not failing at life right now. I'm learning as I go and that's ok."

I love you, Sister.

Ben Barber said...

Oh, this is lovely, Heather! Yes, loving is quite messy, imperfect, tricky, and often painful. But it's also beautiful and powerful and restorative. It's going to hurt like hell, but I'm betting it's worth it.

"True Love, my dear, is putting an ironclad grip upon the sore, swollen balls of a Divine Rogue Elephant, and not having the good fortune to Die."
— Hafiz, "A Barroom View of Love"

Don't say I didn't warn you.

Heather said...

Yeah Ben, I kinda hate this.

But thanks for giving it to me straight.