We all face fear. New job, loss of family members, abuse, an unsettled future where ever we live. We only need watch the evening news and fear can enter our beings. Is it real? Very often yes. For each of us, yes it is real and quite different. And the source can be as individual as the person experiencing this fear. It is near impossible to imagine the fear of some people in the world facing death or maiming in the many wars and terror regions on the planet.
What can we do? Where can we go? Some people will lose themselves in drugs and alcohol, some in busying themselves so as not to think. Others will find an escape in music or bury themselves in family activities or studies. There are so many ways to cover the fear. But that is only covering it. We need to face the fears we have. (Easier said than done you tell me) Yes that is perhaps easier to say than do. It may take years, it may be something that can be solved immediately but the trauma may remain for a lifetime. Simply refer to the numbers of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) sufferers in non-combat situations. And of course those with PTSD from combat after the many recent wars.
I’ll ask again: what can we do?
For some it may take therapy and a great deal of time to heal. For others a change of environment. Fear is something very hard to control. For those we wish to help a good deal of patience and understanding goes a long way, and the knowledge that we can be part of the solution to someone’s pain and fear, and not be more of a problem to them. Love and mercy. These can help. In phenomenology there is a means of empathizing with the one who suffers in fear.
We need to remember that we are also called to “walk in the light” (1 Jn 1: 7) and not to fear the future. St John Paul II said: “I plead with you – never ever give up on hope, never doubt and never tire, and never become discouraged. Be not afraid”. Some very good advice for us. We all face certain fears and uncertainties. Don’t let us make the mistake of despair when we face these. But rather look up and out and see that we have a greater source of strength than any fear… and walk in the light. Fear and worry will not solve anything.
“Fear not because God is with you” – St Padre Pio