Sunday, September 25, 2005

Do You Like Scary Movies?

We are victims of our own paranoias. Think about it. The thing that makes your skin crawl, the thing that makes your heart palpitate, the thing that keeps you up at night, or, conversely, wakes you up from a dream so real that you are bathing in a slick of your own sweat...who created these fears? Not I, said the victim. And it can't be God, because no fault can be found in him. So it must be our enemy, the thief of our peace, the anti-comforter: that Devil.

A friend of mine has recently joined me in Korea and, as an only child, fears the prospect of life in a single apartment by herself. Outrageous! said the oldest of two younger brothers. A life spent in an apartment, without friend or sibling or friend in the world, is heaven. A pure and blessed respite from a life spent in constant communication and interaction with other human beings, whether voluntary or otherwise. But my friend's fears should not be minimilized. For her, the fear of an empty apartment, without roommate, is real. The fear is internal, is believed, is BREATHED in, and is invicible to logic. I can attempt to calm her with promises of copious visits, wall hangings, and my own abode as refuge, but the fear remains: I am alone.

" There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear..." (1 John 4:18, NIV), or, my personal favourite, "There is no room in love for fear. Well-formed love banishes fear. Since fear is crippling..." (the Message translation). There is no ROOM in love for fear? That means that it is full to capacity. The type of love that Psalm 23:5 talks about, " cup runs over..." Superfluous love. Love that is almost unnecessary in its excess. But absolutely necessary in the fact that we, as humans, are riddled with our petty fears.

I have a fear of bats. Why? Because I spent one night, just one night, in a room alone in Panama when I was twelve with a bat who spent the hours between midnight and daybreak making numerous swoops at my face. It was most likely curious. I have a fear of underwater. Why? Because I flipped through a National Geographic magazine when I was young and saw images of glow-in-the-dark sea creatures with underbites that terrified me. Now, I can appreciate that these creatures were created by God, beautiful in their own way, and they glow in the dark, for crying out loud...that's beautiful. I still have a difficult time with the thought of skuba diving. And my friend, my dear friend from Toronto, who can't stand the thought of coming home to a delectable two-room apartment (while the rest of us make do with studios) fears every moment she spends there because she grew up devoid of siblings. She believes in the thought that she is alone. I belive in the thought that bats will swarm me in a darkened cave.

God's love casts out fear and yet, as Christians, "filled" with God's love, hold on to their fears as familiar territory. Even as I write this I realize that I am, once again, stating, in print, that I "have" a fear of bats and a fear of deep sea creatures when really I am only chosing to accept that fear into my life. The fears seem real because we have adopted them. They have been a part of our reality since twelve years of age or since childbirth. God's love should be enough, IS enough, but perhaps we don't access this love.

The Love that speaks simple truths, such as, "You are not alone." and "Bats will not swarm you." is absolutely pivotal to our spiritual walk. To say the words, "I was petrified of _______, but now, because of God's all-consuming love of me, I have been freed of that fear. I live my life devoid of unfounded fears because I feel that God understands my littleness and comforts me enough that I can face life uninhibited by them." makes your testimony real. No one can console you in your most fearful hour, just as no one can argue the fact that you live a live outside of fearful hours entirely.

" You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies." (Psalm 23:5)


andrew said...

"Outrageous! said the oldest of two younger brothers."

Sarah. Dahling. This sentence implies that you are the older brother. Please clarify - are you, or are you not a man?

Andrea said...

Sarah's got a secret!