Tuesday, May 29, 2012
In Yann Martel's novel, The Life of Pi, Pi ends up on a lifeboat with a tiger. Both parts of that are scary - the ocean, and the tiger. From this place of vulnerability, Pi analyzes his fear:
"I must say a word about fear. It is life's only true opponent. Only fear can defeat life. It is a clever, treacherous adversary, how well I know. It has no decency, respects no law or convention, shows no mercy. It goes for your weakest spot, which it finds with unerring ease. It begins in your mind, always. One moment you are feeling calm, self-possessed, happy. Then fear, disguised in the garb of mild-mannered doubt, slips into your mind like a spy. Doubt meets disbelief and disbelief tries to push it out. But disbelief is a poorly armed foot soldier. Doubt does away with it with little trouble. You become anxious. Reason comes to do battle for you. You are reassured. Reason is fully equipped with the latest weapons technology. But, to your amazement, despite superior tactics and a number of undeniable victories, reason is laid low. You feel yourself weakening, wavering. Your anxiety becomes dread..."
Reading his description reminds me of some of the super-spy movies (Bond, Bourne, etc.) or the comic-book super-heroes (Spiderman, Superman, etc.). Seemingly fear has a counter to everything we throw at it. But Pi reveals fear's kryptonite: truth.
"You must fight hard to express it. You must fight hard to shine the light of words upon it. Because if you don't, if your fear becomes a wordless darkness you avoid, perhaps even manage to forget, you open yourself to further attacks of fear because you never truly fought the opponent who defeated you."
I don't know if this has an application to you this week, or not. But my guess is that we all have fears to battle. Every defeat sets you up for future defeat. Every victory sets you up for future victory. So I am praying for the truth to set you free.