Sunday, April 28, 2013

Flint and Fear (Part 1...maybe)

I have grasped this before.
At least cerebrally.
If not experientially.

Understanding is a great deterrent to fear.

Understanding is gained through 
knowing someone or something.
And knowing, by its nature, 
diminishes ignorance.

Ignorance, however, can be a great friend to fear.

When we are without knowledge, 
and thus without understanding, 
fear can easily make reason to a pile of rubble.

In the animated film Beauty and the Beast, 
as the rioting villagers head out to storm the Beast's castle, 
they sing these lines...
"We don't like what we don't understand; in fact, it scares us..."
Who knew Disney could turn philosophical?

But I have grasped this before.
At least cerebrally.
Understanding is a great deterrent to fear.

Knowledge really can be power.
When one feels armed with understanding 
of another
or a context
or a circumstance
or a system
there is greater hope of acting even when afraid.

I live in, 
what many surveys deem, 
one of the country's most dangerous cities.

I live in, 
what some polls have described as, 
one of the country's most miserable cities.

Jobs have left.
And so have people.
Drugs are common.
And so is homicide.
Blight is abundant.
And arson prevalent.

I have plenty of reason to fear.
And the truth is, I have.
I have lived afraid.

I have allowed fear to 
have a voice 
and isolate me.

I have permitted fear to 
draw my proverbial shades
and ignore my neighbor.

And as the neighborhood around me changes.
some say for the worse, 
what I need is some understanding.

I need to understand my community.
My neighborhood.
My neighbors.
I need to understand 
a city can suffer from stress 
for so long that it's crippled.
I need to understand 
how to function effectively 
in an ever-transitioning and needy area.

And maybe, just maybe, 
some of that understanding
can burgeon 
into hope
and compassion
and courage
and action.

Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, 
the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, 
who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble 
with the comfort we ourselves receive from God.
2 Corinthians 1:3-4

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