Reflections on Fear, Faith and Family

30 Nov

A Google search on ‘fear’ produced 499 million results while one on ‘faith’ netted 534 million. A search for ‘family’ produced nearly five times those results combined.

When watching “The Roosevelts” documentary recently, I was reminded of FDR’s famous inauguration line: “The only thing we have to fear is fear itself.” Fear, unfortunately, can be a great motivator. It’s been used to drive nations, including our own, into war. Despite the facts, many are shamelessly using fear regarding the Syrian refugee crisis after the recent Paris terrorist attacks.

There’s a hole in the world tonight
There’s a cloud of fear and sorrow
There’s a hole in the world tonight
Don’t let there be a hole in the world tomorrow

— Eagles

Like many, I’m constantly working on faith (more) and fear (less). It’s been quite a year of hardship for families, testing even the strongest person’s faith. We can only imagine the adversity of those Syrian families displaced by a failed government, nihilism and war. The depth of their despair deserves a deeper understanding and level of compassion from the rest of the world, most of all from a “nation of immigrants” and the “land of opportunity.”

Life is so much more than a sound bite, stump speech, headline or Internet meme. Walk a mile in someone else’s shoes? In our hurried and harried lives, we can’t even make it to the third paragraph of a news report!

Family strife was not limited to foreign lands. On consecutive days last month, I heard the following comments: “I didn’t do anything wrong and now I’m gonna see half of my kids” and “My mother went to her grave hating me.” Not long after that I learned of a Facebook friend whose cancer-stricken fiancé turned his back on their relationship.

Darkness has a hunger that’s insatiable,
And lightness has a call that’s hard to hear.
I wrap my fear around me like a blanket.
I sailed my ship of safety till I sank it.

— Indigo Girls

Like it or not, human error is part of the deal. It takes so long to build a good career, reputation and family… and so little to harm them. But we must strive for those things that make us bigger and more connected to others: faith, understanding, kindness, thankfulness, etc.

‘Thanksgiving’ naturally gets thrown around a lot this time of year. It is more than just your family feast or words on a Hallmark card. It should also be found in our actions reflecting faith, hope and love. If we’re truly thankful for the day, for our country and for family, shouldn’t we live it? For making a difference, embracing our nation’s founding principles and, above all, living for something bigger than ourselves.

We’re all in this world together
Life’s a gift that we have to treasure
Happiness, now that is the measure
Love is the remedy

— Zac Brown Band

 

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