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Sunday, April 26, 2015

On Fear

This will be a short post. It was a hell of a weekend, and I am using that term deliberately.

I am scared. Pain is really not controllable any more, even with the best will and hardest attitude, and I'm spending a lot of time in a savage twilight, conscious but reeling, like a boxer who's taken too many straights to the head.

The Bible says fear not, for I am with thee.

Franklin Roosevelt said that the only thing we have to fear is fear itself.

A few years ago there was a line of products with the logo "No Fear".

Nice words, and no disrespect intended to Scripture (or FDR, for that matter), but some things are flat out scary.

Jesus was scared, too, at Gethsemane, so I don't feel so bad.

And no combat veteran will ever claim fearlessness. Combat is the ultimate terror, and you're either scared, dead, or lying.

I used to think it wasn't being fearless, but how you handled fear.

That's too simple, because it implies that at some level there's a measure of control for every situation.

But some things go beyond the boundaries of control. Everyone's got limits, and hitting them is just unimaginably bad.

That's maybe why civilians condemn cowardice, while the combat veteran knows how close he or she came..
or may yet come.

So if it's not being unafraid, and if it's not how you act, what's the deal? How can we somehow elevate the experience, place it in a transcendental context?

Through mercy. Mercy shown to those who broke under the lash, and mercy reserved for the knowledge of our own limits.

After all, Jesus was merciful to his proud, violent, and terrified rock, Peter.

Thank you all for being here, and continuing to comment. I do read your kind remarks, but replying on this smartphone takes more energy than I have available right now.


  1. Praying for you and yours, Andrew.

    1. Thank you so much...the prayers are surely appreciated, and needed.

  2. You are in my thoughts and prayers, Andrew...consider yourself cyber-hugged {{HUG}}

    1. That felt nice, and brought a tear - a good one - to my eye.

  3. Thank you again for your lucid writing, even in the midst of this awful time. May you know God's kindness, even here. And yes, mercy...

    1. Sheldon Vanauken, a friend of C.S. Lewis, wrote a memoir entitled "A Severe Mercy". Not a contradiction in terms at all.

      I would never have chosen this crucible, but I would be loath to give up the transcendental knowing that it's informed.

      I want to live, but if my duty lies in lighting the road to my own Calvary, it is my honour bright to document it. And if God's mercy is severe, it's all the more heartfelt.

      His Heart.

  4. I appreciate you, your transparency and all you are teaching us through your journey. Praying for you and your family.

    1. Thank you so much for that; I hope you know how much your kindness and your prayers mean to me, and to all of us.