Fear is NOT a Virtue

The other day we were out walking the dog. Elementary-aged kids were out with their parents, also walking the dog. The whole family was masked up. Outside. In the great outdoors. After our chat, we parted ways, and both children said, “Be safe” as a farewell.

Let’s hit pause here for a second. “Be safe” as a way to bid someone goodbye? In our culture now, fear is seen as a virtue. Somehow compassion has been linked to how afraid you are of catching the virus. If you aren’t scared, then you don’t care.  

Covid -19 is scary. I won’t deny it. My family had it; it felt like a sinus infection with a whole lot of fatigue. We all lost our sense of taste and smell, but none of us got seriously ill.

My colleague, Kent ended up in the hospital with pneumonia brought on by Covid -19. 

My bonus daughter’s mom was admitted to the hospital to get the antibody cocktail.

A good friend of my neighbors, a young woman about my age, died from it. It’s scary because it’s unpredictable.  

This doesn’t mean that being afraid is a badge of honor. There are seven classic virtues: temperance, prudence, courage, justice, faith, hope, and love. 

Not one of them is fear. As a matter of fact, one could say that fear is the opposite of most all of those virtues. Why then are we embracing it in our culture?

In the absence of faith, humanity’s natural inclination is fear.

Where is your faith? In what do you put your trust? Some people have faith in their bank account. If they have enough in the account to feel secure, they are happy. If they don’t, they are scared. Some people put their faith in science and progress, and then along comes a pandemic and confusion. Others put their trust in their spouse, career, family, nutrition, doctor, politician, government. The fact is that all of these things are fallible. The only thing that will never fail is faith in a Higher Power.  

We have a choice, friends. We can use this time to connect (or reinforce our connection) with the Spirit of the Universe, or we can practice being afraid.

It’s just like the Force in Star Wars. Do you want to be a Jedi or a Sith? Do you want to broker in love, hope, faith, justice, courage, prudence, and temperance? Or do you want fear, jealousy, arrogance, anger, lack of control, chaos, and confusion? 

Pema Chodron, a noted Buddhist monk, says, “We can make ourselves miserable, or we can make ourselves strong. The amount of effort is the same”

Just for Today

I will NOT make fear a virtue. I will reach for my Creator and lean on S/Him to give me courage. I will take heart that all things will work together for my good.  Maybe not now, but eventually. I will wait with a peace-filled heart. 

Prayer

I believe that you have the whole world in your hands, just like the children’s song. I believe that nothing in your universe happens by chance. I will trust in you even when I don’t know what’s going on or how things will turn out. Could you give me strength and courage? Help me to stand firm in your love and way of life.  

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