Fear is the often trodden road to faith...and flexibility is the gas station along the way.
Faith is the opposite of fear--the belief that every thing's gonna be alright--or the complete confidence in someone or something. Faith in events or people is something we experience every day. I have faith that the guy behind me isn't going to run into me when I stop unexpectedly. I have faith that when I wake tomorrow morning that I will still be able to see. I have faith that the people I'm raising will grow up to become good people.
But what if?
What if that guy runs into me, or I go blind, or (heaven forbid) my kids turn into zombies?
Playing the "what if" game is like supplicating to fear. Imagining all the horrible things that can happen is is the quickest way to rob joy from the moment. Imagining "what if" not only deifies fear but is the emotional equivalent of paddling upstream in a raging river. You're never gonna win.
But what do you do in the dead of night when you wake up worried that your kids are going to get scurvy because they don't eat their veggies? How do you get through the moment imagining that you may be diagnosed with a terminal disease? What do you feel when you picture losing your job, or your spouse or your life savings?
That's where flexibility comes in. Many years ago, we went to visit my parents (don't worry, we've been back since.) We brought with us our darling daughter who walked into grandma and grandpa's house and promptly threw up. I looked at my dad and said, "Oh my gosh! I'm so sorry!! We brought the stomach flu to your house!!"
He looked right back at me, shrugged his shoulders and said, "Well, we're either going to get it, or we aren't. There's nothing we can do now, but sit and enjoy the moment."
In two sentences my darling dad gave me a profound gift. I can worry about all the things that are probably never going to happen to me, or I can shrug my shoulders and say, "Well, it's either going to happen, or not, so let's enjoy the moment."
I know a lot of people who think that the society we currently live in is on the edge of complete destruction. They proclaim, "Look at that (insert catastrophic current event here.) The end is near!!!" And it may be.
But it may not be.
The reality is, most if us don't know how a simple magnet works, or have a thorough understanding of the period table of elements, know why the sky is blue or what our own blood type is--so how in the hell are we going to predict when the "end" is happening?
I've heard of people hoarding coffee (even if they don't drink it) so they can trade it for goods when the "inevitable" zombie apocalypse/WW III/Armageddon begins.
To me, this is insanity. I get the desire to want to survive, but at what cost? Spending my days prepping my bug-out location robs me of my present joy. To take a page from my dad, "It's either going to happen or it's not." Now, I'm not saying don't be prepared/have some savings/use your common sense, but if you're spending even one moment swiping the coffee from your hotel room to add it to your negotiable apocalypse trading collection, then honey, you're missing the joy in the moment.
I'm talking to myself as much as anyone. I wake up at 3 a.m. every single night worried about this or that. I go through phases where I can't stop thinking about the inevitable doom lurking right outside my door. Other times, I sleep peacefully, unencumbered by the monsters of the deep.
I recently learned a little trick: When I feel that fear begin to encroach upon my peace, I say to myself, "I am the mighty and magic circle of protection that is invincible and repels from me every discordant thought and element that seeks to find entrance or intrude itself. I am at peace."
After taking a deep breath/saying a prayer/turning on a light/getting a drink of water, I feel my faith being restored. As much as I don't want it to be, my faith and my fear are tied together. Without fear (or doubt), my faith (or hope) wouldn't be used. My fear is a gift, as is leads me to the faith that gives me peace and joy and flexibility allows me to be patient, adaptable, and responsive to change along the road to greater Faith.
Because, in the words of my dad, "...all we can do now is enjoy the moment."
Faith, fear and flexibility bring me joy. What brings you joy?
"Fear is the mind killer. Fear is the little death that brings total obliteration. I will face my fear. I will permit it to pass over me and through me. And when it has gone past I will turn the inner eye to see its path. Where the fear has gone there will be nothing. Only I will remain." ~Frank Herbert, Dune