Fear the teacher
(written in 06)
I sat with the old man, someone who I have been taking care of for awhile. He is in is his mid-nineties, and it has only been the last few years that he has had to slow down and let others take care of him. At this time he is having trouble breathing, and is on oxygen full time. When in bed he uses a concentrator, and when in his chair he has a tank on the back of his wheelchair. Even with all that he still has trouble breathing, and is in some discomfort much of the time, and I doubt he will be with us much longer. He is very gentle, and does whatever we ask of him, but I can see that it is not easy for him.
We talked tonight about his relationship with God, and he told me that he did not always do his best in the past, and it worries him. So we talked about fear, his fear of God. It turned out that he knew that his fear was based on himself, his own struggle with his relationship with God, and it says nothing about God’s love; God’s eternal love for him.
It pains me the way we can be taught to look upon God, how we can turn the revelation of God’s total loving into something to be feared and cringed before. Even when maturity allows one to move beyond it, the residual fear can still remain, and so the struggle with intimacy with God continues, the fear having to be dealt with over and over again. You can’t trust what is feared, since what is feared, is seen on some level as something unstable, something volatile, and for some, something to avoided.
Fear can be helpful if faced, since choices then flow from that facing, that looking into the eye that which causes trembling and angst. Growth only comes from choices, so I guess even fear can work out for our good, if not believed or followed.