Took a walk with my beloved on a lovely spring day
Cannot understand why am awake at four in the morning trembling with fear.
Cannot understand why my heart is trying to burst out of chest at the same time that the elephants are crowding in to take their place.
Cannot understand it at all.
Fear is a strange thing – of the known and the unknown.
It almost feels like a threat but the danger is a vague and nebulous affair at best and clear and present at worst
As a Christian I think I am not meant to be fearful…
But there seems so much to be fearful of before I’ve even opened my eyes.
Perhaps I should mediate on these verses.
Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me.
The LORD is my light and my salvation– whom shall I fear? The LORD is the stronghold of my life– of whom shall I be afraid?
The LORD is with me; I will not be afraid. What can man do to me?
2 Timothy 1:7
For God did not give us a spirit of timidity, but a spirit of power, of love and of self-discipline.
You who fear him, trust in the LORD– he is their help and shield.
But from everlasting to everlasting the LORD’s love is with those who fear him, and his righteousness with their children’s children–
Praise the LORD. Blessed is the man who fears the LORD, who finds great delight in his commands.
Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the LORD your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.”
1 Chronicles 28:20
David also said to Solomon his son, “Be strong and courageous, and do the work. Do not be afraid or discouraged, for the LORD God, my God, is with you. He will not fail you or forsake you until all the work for the service of the temple of the LORD is finished.
When I am afraid, I will trust in you. In God, whose word I praise, in God I trust; I will not be afraid. What can mortal man do to me?
So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.
For I am the LORD, your God, who takes hold of your right hand and says to you, Do not fear; I will help you.
“Do not be afraid; you will not suffer shame. Do not fear disgrace; you will not be humiliated. You will forget the shame of your youth and remember no more the reproach of your widowhood.
Do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather, be afraid of the One who can destroy both soul and body in hell
For you did not receive a spirit that makes you a slave again to fear, but you received the Spirit of sonship. And by him we cry, “”Abba,” Father.”
1 Corinthians 16:13
Be on your guard; stand firm in the faith; be men of courage; be strong.
Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have, because God has said, “Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.” So we say with confidence, “The Lord is my helper; I will not be afraid. What can man do to me?”
1 Peter 3:13-14
Who is going to harm you if you are eager to do good? But even if you should suffer for what is right, you are blessed. “Do not fear what they fear; do not be frightened.”
1 John 4:18
There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love.
[Grace and Olivia meet on the tube ]
Grace: how are you this morning?
Olivia: I’ve seen better days
Grace: don’t be so dramatic – the sun is shining, the temperature is in double figures – what more is there to say
Olivia: haven’t you watched the news in the past few hours?
Grace: yes, terrible
Olivia: makes me put things ins perspective
Grace: well, yes, maybe but that shouldn’t stop you making sensible, rationale decisions
Olivia: well things could be so much worse couldn’t they?
Grace: that’s not the point Olivia, things are already upside-down for you in your own little world. So you either sort it out and help yourself. Or you pull yourself together, stop whinging and help somebody else.
Olivia: that’s a bit harsh
Grace: sometimes you have to be cruel to be kind. You are my friend and it upsets me to see you floundering like this. Sometimes I wonder if you are lacking in self-esteem and confidence. From the way you talk you act like you do not have the power to change anything. You act as though everything is out of your control
Olivia: well sometimes it feels that way
Grace: I think you are afraid. I think you are overly fearful. I think that leads you to make decisions that are not necessarily in your best interests…in the long term.
Olivia: what should I do?
Grace: that’s the point…you have to decide that for yourself. You have to walk in your shoes and sleep in your bed. Nobody else can decide that.
Grace: say it, spit it out! It won’t hurt you and it might even do you some good!
Olivia: well I am afraid of being alone
[Grace starts laughing ]
Grace: that’s the most ridiculous thing I ever heard. We are alone in this place. Don’t be deceived. Your arrive alone and leave alone.
Olivia: well, that’s not strictly true
Grace: believe what you like…
Olivia:I cannot stand spending evenings and weekends on my own
Grace: don’t you have any friends? Huh – I am one of them, I’ve got time for you
Olivia: it’s not the same… You have your husband and your children, your parents. Your’re busy
Grace: It’s not all it’s cracked up to be. But stop feeling sorry for yourself. You have sisters, brothers, parents and friends that you could contact and make plans with. There is so much voluntary and charity work out there to do. You should never be lonely. And you shouldn’t be unhappy in a relationship – in the end it will only make you both miserable. Leave it you want to leave. Stay if you want to grow-up, fix what you are not happy with and move on. Don’t sit there like a rabbit in the head lights.
Olivia: easier said than done
Grace: no – that’s what mature adults do. You are behaving like a child. Is there something else you are not telling me…?
[Olivia looks away and out of the window]
Olivia: well, I need to go, this is my stop
Grace: I’ ll get you in the end. I always do. Have a nice day at work and I’ll call you later. Talk to him
And so it goes something like this…
Grace: what’s wrong?
Olivia: I’m not sure
Grace: well you must know, you’ve been fussing like a bear with a sore head
Olivia: sore head? I thought it was a bear with a sore paw?
Grace: really – I don’t think so? Anyway, matters not – something’s not right. You’re not leaving until you tell me
Olivia: well I have to catch my train in 30 minutes or else I’ms stuck here for the night
Grace: well you’ve got 20 minutes to tell me what’s wrong
[Olivia sighs and picks up her cup of hot chocolate, fiddles with her napkin wriggles uncomfortably in her seat and looks desperately around the room. There are no distractions]
Olivia: well… I am not sure i am in the right relationship anymore.
Grace: how do you mean?
Olivia: well I want different things now?
Grace: different things – I don’t understand – I thought things were fine with you and Mr. Loves young dream and all that stuff.
Olivia: I’m not young anymore – I want to settle down – have a family, be normal
Grace: there is no such thing as normal. Anyway should you not be having this conversation with Mr ? What do you talk about – if not that?
Olivia: well we have talked about a few times and he says we might get married and we might have children. I did not want to put him under pressure….
Grace: oh! And what exactly is he waiting for? What happens when you are too old to have children and he trades you in for someone younger and more fertile?
[Olivia puts her head in her hands and whispers]
Olivia: I don’t know.
Grace: how did you come to be going out with such a prize anyway?
Olivia: we just met – online and clicked in real life.
Grace: didn’t you know at the beginning that this might be a problem?
Olivia: at the beginning , I had been single for 10 years, at the beginning I was so lonely I was crying myself asleep at night. At the beginning , I was so grateful for companionship from someone who actually liked me and I liked back, that well…the end was not an issue. I might have vaguely thought about it but I was just so glad not to be lonely that it swamped any rational practical thoughts.
Grace: so do you actually like this guy?
Olivia: yes, I do. I feel more myself when I am with him, than with anybody else. I like being with him. I like talking with him. I like listening to him. I love just being in his presence. He’s kind, he is decent, he is funny. He has principles and sticks to them. He makes me want to be better.. I am happy when I am with him.
Olivia: no he is far from perfect. He is forgetful, he can be impatient and lazy. He can drive me to distraction with some of his opinions.
Grace: well you need to speak to him, no point brewing….Do your family like him?
Olivia: my parents have met him and are not interested – don’t think he is a good match for me
Grace: Ahh…ahh… I see…? And why do they think this?
Olivia:Major differences in career (or lack of one), finances, culture and race. I’m too good for him- apparently.
Grace: and what do you think?
Olivia: well I was acutely aware of all these things from day one but somehow it never bothered me enough put me off. I think I just concentrated on him as a person and ignored the differences. I think I concentrated on the fact that we both appeared comfortable in each others presence. I think I was just concentrating on making somebody happy and making myself happy. I think I just thought it will be alright in the end…
Grace: Hmm. What do his friends think of you?
Olivia:I don’t know – I’ve never met them.
Grace:Oh. what do your friends think him?
Olivia: I don’t know. They have never met him.
Grace: hmm. Don’t you think that’s a little unusual? How long have you been seeing each other?
Olivia: 9 months…
Grace: Hmm. Why do you think that is?
Olivia: not sure – if I am being honest – I am not sure that our friends would have anything in common. But that maybe a presumption on my part!
Olivia: but I just cannot imagine being with anybody else. I don’t want to be with anybody else. I just wish the circumstances around us would change for the better.
Grace: what do his family think of you?
Olivia: I don’t know – I have not met them – …yet?
Grace: Olivia – that’s one weird relationship that you have going on there.
Olivia: I know. But when it’s the two of us – the rest of the world fades away
Grace: Olivia, you cannot live in that kind of bubble forever
Olivia: I have to go now – my train is coming
Grace: I’ll call you – we need to talk- you need to talk to Mr