I was a fearful child. I was easily spooked, easily convinced of creatures lurking because I could see their movement out of the corner of my eye. I startled awake at a dog's bark, certain that intruders were closing in. I saw aliens in the night, in the form of bee-like swarms, hovering over my bed and ready to invade me. I had recurring nightmares of Nazi war crimes. I lived in my head and in my stories and a rampant imagination kept me on edge.
With a preacher father and a Scripture-laden home, there was surely a verse for this ailment. My parents had a verse for everything. I used this one as a mantra: "For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind." And as a fearful girl, would mutter it in a long unbroken string of sound, much like Jenny on Forrest Gump dear god make me a bird, so I can fly far, far, far away... It was like the beads on a rosary, rubbed smooth and reflexively. I would shout it in my head, pronounce it firmly to my racing heart - hoping for peace and a quiet mind.
Fear exists to be tamped down, to be put in its place. To be shoved aside and railed against.
We are shoving it aside right now, in our home. The local media alarms us that Atlanta is on the list of terror attack locations. A sleepless daughter whispers she is afraid. She is afraid there will be an attack and she will not be with us. She is afraid her school may be on the list.
I think back to my fears; I look deep in her eyes and tell her we all have fears. And then I confidently demolish every spoken fear with logic and assurance and overall, love. I lie face to face on her pillow and I hiss fervently of protection and power, whisper of evil in the world that will try to press fear upon us. We will not accept it. I choose not to live in fear. Having tamped down imaginary boogeymen my entire life, I am armed for bear. I speak in fast, unbroken cadence as though my words will draw the fear from her head.
L'amour gagne toujours L'amour gagne toujours L'amour gagne toujours
Love always wins Love always wins Love always wins
It is the only battle cry for me. There will always be a sea of troubles to take arms against, but I do not fight on that battleground. My fight is in every ounce of love and light pushed toward our leaders. In every step forward, refusing to give up liberty and live in fear. My fight is in raising compassionate children that will one day be compassionate adults. Adults who still see the endless possibility for peace in our world. Who accept the flaws but do not dwell on them.
Be strong. Hold fast. Don't give in to boogeymen.
The only way a small minority wins is through the overlay of fear on the majority.