A Vision to Overcome Fear
Being afraid comes naturally. Take, for example, anytime my wife finds a spider in our house. Terror. Alfred Hitchcock terror.
She will text me from a different room in our house asking for rescue, and like Rider to the Paw Patrol, I and my daughters will take care of business. My 3-year-old was armed with a shoe. My 6-year-old was armed with Kleenex. My 2-year-old trying to understand why her mother, the strong person that she is, is incapacitated by a creature literally 4600 times her own size. Also take into consideration that, living in central Alberta, poisonous spiders are few and far between. Nevertheless, the fear is real.
I think about the ancient passage of the great mentor to his mentee in the face of his imminent death at the hands of Roman soldiers, “You have not been given a spirit of fear, but of power, love and a sound mind.” What words of maturity and wisdom in the face of torturous demise.
We live in a world of fear.
One reason that’s true is that there are real things to be afraid of. Fear is a justifiable response in the face of a global pandemic, empty grocery store shelves, layoffs, and legally mandated public health ordinances.
Another reason this is true is that fear is an incredibly motivating force. Politicians know it. News managers know it. Alex Jones and Rush Limbaugh know it. Donald Trump knows it. Marketing professionals and salespeople know it.
If I can make you afraid, I can make you do almost anything.
You have not been given a spirit of fear, but of power, love and a sound mind.
You have power over your circumstance. Today you can create the future—with your past in the rear-view mirror.
You can love it. Love extinguishes fear, just as my love for my wife extinguishes the spider.
You have a sound mind today. You can discern facts from opinions and outright fiction. You can use proper judgement when being asked by our leaders to do what we can to fight this global pandemic.
Now is not the time to be afraid. Now is the time to build communities into safe havens of inclusion and protection.
Now is the time to support those around us who have lost their jobs.
Now is the time for innovation to move our economies into a bright and prosperous future, which is possible, by the way. And that innovation can come from you.
When John F. Kennedy first proposed going to the moon shortly after becoming President in 1961 no one knew how to do it. No one knew how much it would cost. The outright objective wasn’t even overwhelmingly practical. And the majority of Americans opposed the initiative.
On September 12, 1962, he stood in front of a crowd of mostly university students at Rice University in Houston, Texas and spoke these words,
“We choose to go to the Moon in this decade and do the other things, not because they are easy, but because they are hard; because that goal will serve to organize and measure the best of our energies and skills, because that challenge is one that we are willing to accept, one we are unwilling to postpone, and one we intend to win, and the others, too.”
And they did. Seven years later. He never got to see it happen, but his vision motivated a nation to “organize and measure the best of [their] energies and skills” whose effect far unstretched simply landing on the moon. His vision stretched beyond space exploration. It stretched beyond race or socioeconomic status. It even stretched beyond his term limit as President.
We are at a similar moment. Not just as a nation, but as a human race. A global pandemic, the unadulterated reflection of our own systemic racism, and the division of our population based on fear and populism.
This is our moment to choose to do the other things. And you have every right to be afraid. But we can overcome with power, love and a sound mind. We can choose to paint a vision of the future free from the things that make us afraid and hide.
This is our moment. We need a vision and we look to the stars.