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What Frightens You?

From the Desk of Pastor Doug

April 13, 2020

Several years ago, when the very first Harry Potter movie came out, my wife took our kids and our nephew Bennett to the theater to take the movie in. Somewhere in Harry’s big adventure, the tension had built to a level where it might have been tangible. All the youngsters were at the very edge of their seats, waiting for Harry get through his most current mess. Then, as everyone was honed in on the hero, and before the climatic scene that would either bring relief or a big scare, Bennett, our nephew called out for everyone in the theater to hear, “WELL, THIS IS NOT SCARY”. Now while his words said not scary, it was obvious to everyone over the age of 12 that what the youngster was really saying was, “WELL, THIS IS SO SCARY AND I AM SO TENSE THAT I MIGHT PASS OUT ON THE SPOT.” He elicited quite a chuckle from the adults in the room as I understand because they realized the difference between what he said and what he meant.

In the past several weeks I’ve heard people stating that they aren’t scared of the situation that we currently live. Sometimes they mean it, sometimes the words come out like Bennett’s, allowing us to see the truth of just how scared they might be. What are they scared of? Is it the fact that we have no idea how long we might be living in quarantine and they are running out of Charmin? Good news for them, there seems to be plenty to be had now. Is it idea that there is a tiny, unseen virus out there that we can pick up without even knowing that we’ve been exposed to it? Is the fear of the sickness what has people in its grips? An illness that 98% of people recover from and many of them never even get symptomatic. But we know that for 2% it isn’t just a bad flu, it’s a death sentence and we don’t have the guarantee that the overwhelming odds will in fact, work out in our favor. Especially true for the elderly and a list of risk factors that do in fact cover way too many of us.

Fear is a strange thing. For some we just pretend we aren’t afraid. How many times have we heard people in our life say (lie) that they aren’t afraid of anything and just keep plowing ahead no matter what they face? Those are the people that climb mountains and base jump. They either aren’t afraid or they won’t let that fear stop them from living. Other people are terrified of things and in some cases just about everything. A trip to the zoo would at certain exhibits bring out the terror reaction to our oldest daughter. She’s been known to take in the monkey exhibit while climbing the faces of her mom and dad and screaming like we may have been on the inside of the exhibit and the monkeys wanted to get even with us for putting them in there. For some, fear stops them from doing absolutely nothing and for others, it causes them to do absolutely nothing. Fear is a strong emotion.

I’m wondering about what my biggest fear is. It’s not Covid-19. I won’t live my life as though it doesn’t exist, but I also won’t wrap myself in Cling Wrap and hide in the back of the closet until it’s over. The Cubs winning another world series scares me a little and then I remember it’s another 96 years or so until they are due to win another. I’ll be really, really old (154 is really old) by then and probably not care as much. I’m not afraid of the dark, but I own a stupid number of flashlights just in case. I’m not afraid snakes, I’m not afraid of the things swimming around my legs in the ocean. I fear one thing and I think about it an awful lot.

I’m afraid of living my whole life and not making a difference. I am horrified by the fact that I could live my entire life and at the end, looking back, realize there was not a single person who was positively affected by my presence. I desperately want to make a difference. It would be awesome to make a Mother Teresa sized difference, but any positive difference would be awesome. I’ve never worried about being rich, I don’t have to drive a big, fancy car or live in a home that makes my neighbors envious, but I want to be a difference maker. I want the world to be better than it would have without me. It really isn’t a vanity thing. It’s a Jesus thing. I can’t look at Jesus, then look at myself and think if HE is the dominating force in my life that my life shouldn’t be making a difference. It isn’t that I think it would get me a better seat in Heaven or be the reason I get to Heaven. Heaven is granted by our faith in Christ, not any good work. I should be driven to do good because Jesus has done such a work in me that I want to share it with everyone. I’m hopeful we all want to make that sort of an impact. The question is, are we? Am I? Are you?

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