The Devil's Playground

love is the absence of fear.

By Patrick L.

   What is the devil’s playground? I believe it is not a place you can find on a map, but in fear itself. I debated writing this blog post for a few weeks.  However after a few current events I felt I needed to talk about this.  Fear seems to be one of the strongest drivers in us all. I believe it is one of the most destructive powers among people. Fear is the creator of racism, the Holocaust and even the divide we find in my country today.  I want to talk about fear in general, how it is used today, and life without it. Please understand i am not immune to fear myself and all written relates to myself and what i have observed.

   Webster defines fear as “an unpleasant often strong emotion caused by anticipation or awareness of danger”. Let’s break this down because there is really 3 parts to this definition. Let’s get awareness of danger out of the way. This is you are 100% sure there is going to be a negative outcome. Now let’s break down the first part.  Anticipating fear can be of a calculated nature. An example would be like my niece’s Pie In Face game. You can anticipate the more times you pull the crank, the likelihood you are going to have your face covered in whipped cream. Anticipation also can be based on something that is not real or the the odds of something negative happening are extremely rare. Examples would be a fear of clowns or the sky falling. These are example are very basic, but this is where I believe the devil exist. As someone who fights mental illness I fight “real” fear and “made up fear” on a daily basis.

“The only thing we have to fear, is fear itself.”

Franklin D. Roosevelt

Now that we have broken down fear at a basic level let’s go into things that I feel relates in the present. As a Christian I am alarmed at what society continues to fear and newly created fears.  As I said before i am not immune to fear. I was recently invited to my neighbor’s housewarming party and the fear started to set in. Why do you ask the reason for my fear? It was racism. They seemed different, had darker skin and to top it all off I would be the minority. I wanted to be polite so I showed up to the party. My fear felt validated as I walked through the door. My family was the only “white” family.  What were we to talk about? Well fear was destroyed when conversation started. We were the same. We wanted the same things in life.

Never considered myself a racist until that day, but it was shortly lived. It died when fear died. Racism should be that of history, however fear keeps it relevant.

   I think people have always assumed I am Republican and that is understandable. However, I contain both conservative and liberal ideas and sometimes at the same time. I think most people are like this. However, by allowing fear to enter into our belief structure we have become very polarized. Society has made us want to choose a side. We fear different views as a plague that will enter our lives and destroy our very foundation. We all want the same things in life. The greatest of this is love. What is love? Love is the absence of fear.

   I can’t talk about love and fear without talking about Faith. For me specifically, my life as a Catholic. We, like many other religions get misunderstood often. I had a conversation with a sweet lady one day and religion came up. She ask me if i was Christian. I responded “Yes ma’am I am Catholic”.  She responded “OK so you are Catholic, not Christian”.  As crazy as it sounds, I have had more than one of these conversations that started the same way.  I myself have misunderstood other faiths and let fear get the better of me.  So I am going to write about fear from my faith perspective as a Catholic Christian.

    I find it amazing people can consider themselves “pro life” when they really mean “anti-abortion”.  I ask myself all the time how followers of Christ can distort the message that all life is sacred. The reason is fear. It’s easy to love a baby. Who doesn’t love babies? However, it is difficult to love a drug addict, a rapist or murderer. It seems like an impossible choice to choose love over fear in these situations.  As a Christian it is my job to choose love over fear. It is a hard thing for me. as well as so many others to accept. We believe Christ is love and love is the absence of fear.

   The current gun debate also relates to fear. People fearful of more guns, and others fear that their guns will be taken away.  Growing up I hunted. I never thought of a gun as a death machine. I just knew it was what I needed to kill my first doe with my uncle Jeff.  It was time of bonding and a little meat in the fridge.  I never thought of a gun to serve my fears or to harm someone.  It is amazing how growing up can change that.  We are fearful over so many things today and guns is just another thing we use to pacify such fears. As a Christian I would gladly give up every gun I ever owned to save the life of even just one person. I don’t believe that just gun control will stop all violence, but if getting rid of elements that make a gun extremely lethal will save a life, it is well worth it.  Today fear keeps us from having a gun and violence debate.  We need to open our hearts and minds to each other and be a voice of love. A voice without fear.

  I know this has been heavy. This topic really has thrown it’s weight around with me. My heart has been beaten and bruised. Fear is a very expansive topic. What I have learned is there is a tool that is better than any weapon on earth. It can spread faster than any virus. It contains more power than anything we know. The salvation of love is YOU. We all hold light to drown the darkest of fears. I believe Christ is not around us, but in us. We all hold that spiritual body, the light, that absence of fear within us, Fear is the darkness where evil plays. Be the brightest light. If you see myself or anyone else’s light dim, shine yours brighter to bring us out of the shadows of fear.

Thank you for reading my blog and supporting my journey as Southern Fellow.