Wednesday Wisdom: Threat

I’m writing a few days early because we are living in an unprecedented threat. The invisible force of coronavirus as a global pandemic has saturated our lives with a shocking amount of fear towards everything we touch, inhale, ingest, consume, and interact with. Our minds are overwhelmed with news, statistics, dread, paranoia, sorrow, grief, vulnerability, and nearly everywhere we turn there is another voice with another fact that puts more weight on the load. We have been forced to retreat, to adapt to alternatives to keep the threat as distant as possible.

To me, it seems as if we are trying to figure out how to live within a mindset of elimination, how to conquer the beast that we can’t see, can’t feel, but know its presence is real. It is a beast that thrives through connection. Now is as evident as ever to see how connected we are. Despite oceans and skies, we convene on one planet with one uniform need: each other.

The irony isn’t lost on me. In order to eliminate the beast, we must deny ourselves of the very connections that save us from falling prey to despair. Loneliness and depression go hand in hand. In troubled times, our minds seek the simplest path. Some prefer fight and some prefer flight, and neither are wrong in their preference, although they are both a product of fear and as we know, fear begets behavior and language that repels and shames rather than validates and confirms.

How do we turn our language to empathy? How do we forge through a crisis when we are fearful of everything that surrounds us? How do we trust our world again?

Having gone through my own crisis of identity and sense of reality, I know that life can take everything from us including our faith in our perception of truth. These are scary times and faith is rattled. What is our truth? Are we afraid of death or are we afraid of not fully living? There is a difference. The first is oppressive whereas the fear of not living life to its fullest has options. We can alter our patterns, discern the way we spend our time, refrain from language that suffocates and repels. We can create space within ourselves for growth.

I can think of no better time than right now to implement seeds for personal amelioration through introspection. We have been gifted one beautiful and glorious life. Fear eats away at our minds, paralyzes us, forces us to panic. Right now, my fears are dwelling on the fact that I have to take my daughter in for lab work today and I’m afraid of exposing her to the world. She has an autoimmune disease and is doing great, but what if? The truth is, I’m not afraid of her falling ill, I’m afraid of being the bad parent who exposed her to danger despite the fact that lab work is part of her health regimen. My fear is a question of my goodness: am I good or am I bad? Quite selfish, really.

What are we really afraid of? There is no wrong answer. Naming the beast minimizes the threat. Within the safety of our walls, if we don’t make the space now, then when?

My daughters walking on a beach on the Oregon coast