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.
(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” …