“It is not death that a man should fear, but he should fear never beginning to live.” Marcus Aurelius
My carefree days of childhood were weighed with fear. Fear, not so much of death, but of disappointing, fear of getting into trouble, fear of getting hurt, fear of dogs, snakes, etc, fear of going to hell and fear of mostly everything and everyone. As Marcus Aurelius would say, “Never beginning to live!”
But as I’ve matured, my fears are still with me but they have aged also. Now it’s fear of getting ill, fear of losing a loved one, fear of losing my mind, job, retirement. The same fear in this wacky world is difficult to shake.
But amid all my fears (real and imaginary), I was raised in a family, school and community of faith. We learned (or had drilled into us from memorization that God is everywhere and always with us).
We recited prayers, novenas and prayed the psalms all reminding us of God’s constant love and protection on this scary journey of earthly life.
Psalm 23 is perfect for worrywarts like me:
“The Lord is my Shepherd; I shall not want…. He restores my soul…He guides me in straight paths……Yes, though I walk through the valley of he shadow of death….I will fear no evil….For Thou art with me…Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life.”
God is not insulating us from life’s troubles:Bad things do happen to good people. He is promising to give us what we need in order to face our trial and to prevail over our troubles.
One writer has put it, sometimes God calms the storm, but sometimes God lets the storm rage and calms the frightened child.
We live in a complicated and troubled world and yet God is inviting us to keep going, keep walking with him until our journey is complete.
To live, in spite of fear, keep Psalm 23 and this prayer close at hand:
“May God support us all day long, till the shadows lengthen and the evening comes, and the busy work is hushed, and the fever of life is over, and our work is done.
Then in his mercy, may He give us a safe lodging and a holy rest and peace at last. Amen” (Cardinal Newman)