Thursday, July 11, 2013

Fears, Fathomable and Otherwise

Being with my nephew reminds me of how interesting it is to watch him grow and change.  Memories of his younger years swirl around me.  Lately, as I've been feeling fretful about a variety of things, I've thought of what used to terrify him when he was younger.

He went through a stage where he was terrified of lawnmowers.  He wasn't just terrified for himself, of course.  He wanted us all to run away.  We tried to explain that they were mostly harmless, and I could see him looking at us in disbelief.  He'd hear the roar, and I could almost hear him saying, "Don't you adults realize what's coming?  If we run now, we might escape."

I think of my younger fears.  Was I really that young woman who doubted her intellectual ability and wasn't sure she could make it through a graduate program?  Was I once that woman who kept a case of water in her trunk, along with other emergency supplies, and who never let the gas tank get below half full, just in case an emergency arose, and I had to leave quickly?

I wonder if my current fears will seem as unfathomable to me a few decades from now when I look back.  Will I laugh at my fears of global warming and sea level rise?  Or will I wish I had sold my Florida property earlier?  Will I wonder why I was so worried about finances?

It's so easy to dismiss my past fears with the benefit of hindsight.  It's so hard to be live a life of trust in God's abundance here in the present tense.

I wonder if God looks at my fears with the same gentle bemusement with which we regarded my nephew's fears of the lawnmower.  Does God say, "Why is she still so racked with doubt and fear?  Does she not yet realize that I've got it all under control?"

I imagine God saying this with fondness.  I do not imagine a God who says, "Really?  You're still stuck in fretfulness?  Well, just forget it then.  I'm not sending good gifts your way again."

No, that's not the kind of God as parent whom I envision.  Instead I think of my spouse, who used to pick up my terrified nephew and move in the opposite direction of any lawnmower.  I think of my spouse who held my nephew high and murmered comforting words to him.

That's the kind of God who makes the most sense to me.

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