This summer my grandson wanted to climb on our rock walls. I’ll never forget, the apprehension and fear he displayed when I brought him to the first rock… of many… that he was about to climb. I waited for him to take that first step. He didn’t. I then asked him what was wrong… he looked at me with his tiny, little, nervous brown eyes and said… “I’m scared”.
I smiled, took his hand and said that its ok to be scared, its ok to be afraid, that’s normal… but courage is when you put aside those fears and do what needs to be done. I then took his small hand into mine and said, “I’ll hold your hand and make sure nothing bad happens” He then took his first step.. climbed his first rock… then finished a whole rock wall. When he was done, he jumped up and down with joy and said “I did it” Now, I can’t keep him off walls. A simple joy, that Fear would have denied him… if he had not confronted it head on.
Likewise… over the past 6 months, I have watched fear consume many dear friends and much of our nation. It has robbed, normally highly intelligent people, of the lives they once cherished so dearly. Fear has denied many of them the warm touches of their loved ones. Embraces, hugs and kisses have now become a thing of their pasts… and something to look forward to. They have relinquished the present for the promise of a tomorrow… which we all know, deep inside, might not ever come. The only time we are guaranteed by the Great God Almighty is the here and now.
Saddest of all…. Fear…. now has them anxiously awaiting death’s knock on their door… at the slightest sign of a sniffle, cough or stuffed nose. They think that if they get Covid, they are going to die. That’s what everyone in the media has told them. That’s what their Governors have told them. Why would they lie?
What is it about fear that people quietly embrace? No one will ever admit to being a slave of fear, they don’t have to… their words… their actions… give their servitude away.
Yes, fear is real. It is a natural reaction to outside influences that can negatively affect ourselves and our families. But we must also understand, the unfounded fears are often more crippling than the actual thing that causes the fear.
The Roman Philosopher Seneca once said, “There are more things likely to frighten us than there are to crush us; we suffer more often in imagination than in reality.” (Letters from a Stoic, Seneca)
A perfect example of this was a recent drive I took. I was driving to the Adirondack Mountains in NY. I was on a vast stretch of an empty road that ran thru the mountains. There were absolutely no homes around, when I passed a young woman, walking on the side of the road… by herself, in the middle of nowhere… with a facemask on. I still can not get that image out of my head. I keep thinking to myself… What has scared her so? Who has scared her so? A lone woman, so fearful, that she would not take her mask off and breathe the fresh, mountain air that God had made available to her? She was chained to her Fear!
I have spent months, providing objective, 3rd party data, showing that the Covid Virus is not a super killer virus. It is not in the league of Ebola. It is more in line with a really serious Flu and is less deadly than H1N1 of 2009. For those under 18 it is less deadly than the flu. It’s impact is greater because it appears to be so much more contagious than the flu. No one has provided me with a single shred of scientific proof or data which negates or disproves a single point I have made. For the record, again, I have said the virus is real. It is much more contagious than the Flu. If you’re over 60, you need to be on guard.
I think the number one negative effect that I have personally witnessed is the anxiety that someone goes through when they discover they have been infected. They think it’s a death sentence, when in reality, they have a 99.72% chance of survival. They have a better chance of getting into a serious accident driving to the local store than dying from this virus.
While I was nervous when it began, I am no longer afraid. There is no universal 10% death rate. The real death rate is now .28% vs .10% for the Flu. For People under the Age of 50, they are 15x+ more likely to get struck by lightning during their lifetime than to die from this virus. I allowed the facts, the data to change my mind and help me conquer my original fears.
Though I am no longer fearful myself, I am not a fool. I still warn my own younger family and friends not to be stupid and to take extra precautions when visiting older relatives. Little things such as making sure they are not sick in any way, that they have not been around anyone who even looked sick. If they worked with or had any cases of Covid at their Schools, Workplace or Friends to not even consider visiting anyone older.
My wife and I take our temperatures regularly, we have our oxygen meters we use throughout the day as well and we do use facemasks. The science does seem to support that using a mask can reduce the exposure level of the virus and help a person’s body easily overcome it. This is the balance we struck. Though others might still disagree with the facts, these are the straight, simple facts… they are not my opinions… they are not foolishness.
You can live a life, embrace the ones you love, go to church, laugh, mourn and cry with others… and not die.
Yet still…. People want to be afraid. Maybe it is fear… and not facts… that give people a sense they are alive? I don’t know. But fear is one of the strongest negative forces that mankind faces. Next to Pride, it’s the devil’s 2nd favorite tool.
Unfounded fears have started wars, created a multitude of lies to justify the fear, destroyed individuals, families and the financial potential of hundreds of millions of people, this century alone.
Fear is the dream killer. The annihilator of happiness and the destroyer of the gifts that God has reserved for you from the foundation of the world.
Les Brown once called “Cemeteries” the richest places on earth. For there you will find cures for cancer, best selling books never written, songs never sung, new inventions and unspeakable joys and treasures… all buried in the ground… with their owners… people who were held back by fear from taking the first step or fulfilling their dreams.
I think about that often.
When I die, whether from this virus or anything else the Universe sends my way, my goal is to be the poorest person buried in that Cemetery. No dreams buried with me… No words left unsaid… No hugs held back…. every tear I had… shed. Every person who I have wronged and those who have wronged me… forgiven. Fear will not deny me these things! Only time can.
Nothing will go into the ground with me.. The riches of my life, my joys… to live forever in the memories of those whom I loved. My soul to dwell in the House of the Almighty. Then… the ground can take my body back from whence I came.
But I will not live in fear… and I will never leave this world afraid!
Music: Duck Hunt – From “The Crown”