irrational fears

Fear is a funny thing.   At times it’s good.  It can keep us from doing crazy things.  It can keep us on the straight-and-narrow (see dictionary entry under “Watson children: teenage years”).  It can make us fall to our knees in prayer.  After all, fear of God is a gift of the Holy Spirit.

If it’s too great, though, it can immobilize us or keep us from doing the heroic thing.   But I maintain that some fear is a good thing.  (What’s that famous quote?  Courage is not the absence of fear, but the judgment that something is more important?  I don’t know who said that, other than the father in Princess Diaries.  Someone probably said it before him.)

It can be rational.  This past Saturday, in the course of one of my lessons, I held up a rosary and asked the room why we have stopped praying it.  Why did we pray the family Rosary in the 50s and 60s when we were fearful of nuclear war, and now we’ve stopped?  Has the threat disappeared?  Sure, I played on their fear.  But I don’t think it’s wrong to fear nuclear war. It’s what we do with that fear.

But fear can also be irrational.  This little discourse on fear was really just an excuse to present random stories that aren’t otherwise connected.

I was first just going to blog about the cicada plague.  It’s been 13 years, and … they’re back….  

I remember when they emerged in southern Indiana where my cousin was living at the time.  It seems that there are various different plagues that pop up at various different times in various different locations.  It’s our turn.  I’ve heard stories from people who lived through it 13 years ago (including my sister, who happened to be visiting here that summer), and I’m not looking forward to the next few weeks.

I saw my first few shells as I was walking into work this morning.  So I joked around about it to a few people and brushed it off.  (not literally, thank goodness.  Although it’s just a matter of time.)  And then a few hours later, while walking across campus…

I heard them.  I hadn’t heard them before.  And suddenly, there they were.

(c) Anderson Design Group

(Isn’t this great?  A local artist has designed a bunch of merchandise.)

I’m scared to death they’re going to fly in my hair.  And I’m going to be pasty-white for the wedding I’m in at the end of the month because I won’t venture outside for the next three weeks.

On the same irrational fear topic, we have Italians evacuating Rome tomorrow because someone in 1915 predicted an earthquake would hit the city on May 11, 2011.  Part of me doesn’t want to laugh at this in case something does happen.  And since the only earthquake I’ve ever felt was in Rome, I have to wonder if I’d be leaving the city tomorrow too.  It’s always good to have an excuse for a day trip to the beach anyway.

And while we’re on the topic of May 2011 predictions, don’t forget that we’re only a few days away from the Rapture.  May 21.  Remember– “Noah knew.  We can know” …


9 thoughts on “irrational fears

  1. Wow! I guess we’ll see tomorrow? And what’s this about the rapture on the 21st? I hadn’t heard about that. Maybe I should start praying more….??? Well, that’s always true, but knowing I have less than 2 weeks left….! 😉 I personally will be glad when 2012 is over and we’re all safe and sound (hopefully)!

  2. Uncle mark says:

    Interesting, this mornings office of readings was the story of the plague of locusts from the Book of Revalation.

  3. Jill says:

    13 years ago, Sr. Mary Grace (but then she was still just “Jennifer”)and I went to Nashville on a Vocation retreat at St. Cecilia’s. The retreat was really nice, but the cicadas were everywhere flying around. I remember being in the van and they would just coat the windshield while we were stopped at stoplights…weird experience. All the sisters assured us that they only came out every 13 years…probably afraid that they would scare us away forever. At the time I had no idea how closely we would be tied with the Dominicans, but Jen entered at the end of that summer! Funny how those dumb cicadas played a part in that historic trip to the Motherhouse. I bet Sister remembers them well, too!

  4. Maria K. says:

    Well, you should probably not come over to my house until the cicadas are gone. Talk about disgusting. The shells fall off the door frame when I leave in the morning. It seriously is like it is raining cicadas. Disgusting!!!!

  5. Haus Frau says:

    Ugh. Now I’m going to get my husband to fix the broken screen in the downstairs porch so we can have some fresh air this summer without the embarrassment of me sitting in a deck seat in a space suit armed with tennis racket. 😉

    I loathe and despise cicadas. Unjustly perhaps, since they have done nothing of yet to offend me save existing.

    They’re just big. And noisy. And my boys better not bring them into the house.

  6. Beth says:

    Oh, the rapture. I heard on NPR the other morning that there are people who are so certain that the rapture is coming that they have their last penny planned out to spend on May 20th…and nothing left for the 21st.

    The man predicting the rapture for the 21st? He has done it before, sometime in the 1990s.

    Yes this is a story from NPR.

    Cicadas? Ew, a priest up in Macon, GA has posted a picture of one on his blog…I hope they don’t come down this far, we already have to deal with roaches the size of a small country.

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