Blog 1406 – 07.26.2019
Fear Not I Am With You
When I was a boy and long into adulthood I was terribly afraid of dogs. In my twenties I had a pastor almost twice my age who was also afraid of dogs. He used to ask everyone who was not afraid of dogs to hold up their hands. Then asked those who had been bitten by dogs to keep their hands up while all the others put theirs down. He would smile at all the hands remaining up. He had never been bitten by a dog and used that to justify his fear of dogs. There is no justification for fear, being cautious yes, but not being afraid.
The opposite of love is not hate but fear. Fear leads to hate and a host of other serious problems. Fear is not the answers, love is. Love not only covers a lot of “missing the mark” short comings but love also casts out fear.
As I started out, most of my life I have been terribly afraid of dogs. I was bitten as a young boy and rushed to the hospital emergency room at night in an ambulance, lights flashing and sirens blaring. There was even talk of a series of rabies shots that I might have to take. I was more afraid of shots then than dogs. Fortunately for me I did not have to take those shots, less fortunate for the dog who’s head was cut off and sent to a lab to prove he was not rabid.
The Army cured me of the fear of shots. I cannot even tell you how many I got my first month in the military. I think they must have been testing out all the new flu vaccines on us as my whole company was sick with flu like symptoms after one round of shots.
My fear of dogs limited my love for dogs. Old Yeller and The Biscuit Eater were two of my boyhood favorite movies. I was in my late fifties when I overcame my fear of dogs and instead of quaking or yelling at barking dogs just started calmly talking to them. Yelling at things or people you love is most often if not always a silly and very counterproductive practice.
Sometimes people when the are upset or afraid, bark like dogs and act mean. Dogs and people, everyone and everything responds to love. This morning I had to enter several fences to get the meter numbers off customer gas meters for a new job we are starting soon. In one back yard I was greeted by two large barking dogs that acted like the wanted to eat me up. I was on their turf, they did not like it, and they were afraid and trying to scare me off. I was not afraid. I had a job to do. I kept assuring them in a calm voice that it was okay and that I would be gone soon and it was and I was. A few minutes later in another fence a beautiful black dog also got perturbed with me. Not at first but as I was leaving, I think she was mostly angry at me for not playing with her, but I had a job to do and I did it but she followed me to the fence protesting loudly. Again I felt unafraid, I knew she was a good dog.
That is the worst thing about fear it makes us believe that the person or thing we are afraid of is “bad.” Those silly judgments are above our pay grade. To paraphrase Kipling, ours is not to reason why, ours is but to obey the call to love. Ours is not to be afraid but again to love – why? Because the great I Am is always with us, in us, is us. His/Her other name is Love and that is Who and Whose we are.
Fear not for I am with you.
Your friend and fellow traveler,