RUN FROM FEAR OR STAND IN LOVE?

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There are two basic motivating forces: fear and love. When we are afraid, we pull back from life. When we are in love, we open to all that life has to offer with passion, excitement, and acceptance. We need to learn to love ourselves first, in all our glory and our imperfections. If we cannot love ourselves, we cannot fully open to our ability to love others or our potential to create. Evolution and all hopes for a better world rest in the fearlessness and open-hearted vision of people who embrace life”.

- John Lennon

Disney’s animated film Frozen tells a story of two sister princesses.  Elsa is the older of the two and has a magical gift.  Early in the film Elsa has an accident, giving her pause to ever use this gift.  She also becomes a recluse.  Has a tragic event in your life caused you to recoil?

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Life’s curveballs can cause us to hide away too.  We sometimes shrink to avoid conflict, rather than let the spotlight reveal our natural strengths and wonders.  Frozen’s theme is “love conquers fear.”  Not once, but twice in the film, the message comes across in the character’s voice, “only an act of true love thaws a frozen heart”.  The film’s redemptive expression is the selfless love and generosity that heals the frozen heart of Hannah, the younger princess.

Have relational traumas driven you to an emotional heart transplant registry?  Has your spirit closed due to insidious injustices, a litany of lies, or torn trust?   CAUTION:  we can’t close our heart selectively without reducing the full spectrum of love’s truth to everyone in life’s camp.  When we close down, we diminish our empathy flame.

Emotional wounds that seep through the most sterile of human dressings can’t heal.  Silent cries seek help and comfort, but where’s the refuge for peace and reconciliation?  Where’s the buoy of hope in a turbulent ocean of pain and uncertainty? 

Not unlike most people, I protect my deepest, gut-wrenching fears from public view.  Blogging has been a vehicle for crouching from the dark pits.  It has revealed a vulnerable side that has usually led to an illuminating place that feels healthy, warm, and safe.  Only recently did a new friend label the core of a recurring, hidden fear, locked away from my own consciousness.  Abandonment.   

While my parents raised three boys and a girl in a secure home of acceptance and support, this framework of unconditional love didn’t transition to my adult family life.  Far too often marital strife was marked by abandonment.  Traumatic through most of the marriage, subsequent years of reflection about the family’s brokenness have been distilled with understanding and compassion.  Most importantly, in this life-changing lesson through struggle and suffering is the freedom to bare all things in love.

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Within a few months, my house of 15 years will be sold, launching another major event.  While I’ve been preparing for this eventual change for several years, the actual move will come with a mix of emotions, and the tug-of-war between fear and love will rear its head again. 

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For daily exercise and meditation, I hike alone on my 22 acre hilly property (topographical map lists as Red Hill), lush with colorful wild flowers and native scrubs; oak, fir, and madrone trees; and an abundance of wildlife, including the reticent white and black tailed deer, fox, possum, reclusive bobcat (seen a few), cougar (never seen) and black bear (never seen).  These serene walks in nature are always reassuring of God’s majesty and provision.  Fear has no place in this solitude with nature.  I don’t even carry a weapon.  

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On occasion I invite friends to walk the mountain with me.  There’s amusement to recount memories of living in my own private preserve.  It’s also rewarding to share stories of faith, including my favorite, “Confronting Cat”, an imaginative tale of crossing with a hungry cougar on an evening hike.  If that’s God’s time and place for my departure, I’m good with being a tasty treat.  Just make it quick, Cat! 

It’s been clear in recent years that God’s got everything covered for me.  “And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose” (Romans 8:28).  There’s comfort and assurance that fear has no hold on me.  When Angels summon me to take my place in Heaven, I’ll be smiling and singing, “I walked fearless, expecting, and mirrored the love of abundance Christ breathed into my being”.

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Displacing fear with stalwart love is a soul’s journey to harmony. Abandonment issues, unresolved relationships, and trenching through the human’s torrential torments can burrow a life.  Prayer releases these energies to a higher sphere of enlightenment. Leaning into Papa God’s agape heart is the sacred practice of letting go.  Walking faithfully in the Father’s love is the way and truth for rest now and for all eternity.