Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Fear Itself

The blogger with her beloved husband & hero.

What they tell us is the only thing to fear is fear itself.  Easier said than done, but definitely the spirit that gets us through the shadowy places, where things seem to be lurking, ready to attack.  Quite recently I visited fear's shadows. Yesterday my husband walked through the door after a meeting and said, "I'm fired.  They fired me.  They're waiting outside to take my computer."  

I peered out of the window and there was the supervisor and the boss, both overweight men with identical beards and jowls, and could momentarily imagine them as the monsters in our story. The meanies who snatched away our livelihood in the middle of a recession, when most of our 401K and investments have plummeted and jobs are scarce. . . I wanted to drive them off my property with the broom. Something stopped me, and I took another peek at their pasty faces as they gazed worriedly up at the house, as if we might sic the dogs on them.

The two bosses didn't look particularly scary, in fact, they looked foolish, standing at the foot of our hilly driveway staring at our house as they waited for my husband to come out with the computer, neither of them healthy enough to climb our steep driveway to the door.  

When the computer transaction was complete, I kept my composure as my husband told me exactly what had happened, my heart bumping in my chest like a frog in a tin can.  I began to worry. I don't have a job myself and my attempts to sell my work have slowed due to many factors, including the economy.  The worry was quiet and more over my husband's welfare than money at first.  But soon, money worries surfaced: what can I sell -- what can I cut out of our lives?  

I reminded myself to breathe and believe in God's great love.  I reminded myself that no material thing is more important than just being alive and loving.  Even if we were poor to the extent of having nothing we could still survive.  All we need is our love, intelligence, diligence and our courage.

Whatever happens, I want to free my husband from any blame in this.  It is not a tragedy or a punishment for mistakes.  It simply is what happened and what is happening to so many people everywhere. Truly, the chickens are coming home to roost in America -- not always to the coops where they were hatched, but they are coming.

Perhaps you don't know that idiom, "the chickens have come home to roost." It means we are now reaping the consequences of years of fiscal insanity. The chickens are these consequences; the roost is our economy. The government, particularly this administration, has spent and borrowed outrageously, while encouraging irresponsibility in corporations and financial institutions with tax incentives and bad legislation.  The working class people now take the brunt of this. People like you and me are losing our jobs, our investments, our pensions, and our health care.  How does the corporate world respond to crisis?

The corporation panics like a gluttonous beauty queen who has pigged out on doughnuts all winter, suddenly remembering she has entered a summer swimsuit competition.  A huge corporation contracts its slackened muscles by squeezing the scrawny necks of its workers. Heads are rolling, but rarely the heads of the top dogs that should be taking responsibility. 

This is what garnered the consequences we now experience. Corporate misdeed, along with an immoral and wasteful war, and plundering human and environmental resources without gratitude and respect.  In such a culture all consequences are dire and irreparable.  No redemption is offered.  Every mistake requires punishment.  Every finger points away from one's self at another.

My husband was fired for a mistake that I felt was small and good intentioned.  He was fired after twenty years of loyal and laudable service to his company.  A better supervisor could have remedied this situation in a compassionate manner without firing anyone and it would have benefited the company.  I believe the supervisor felt he had no other choice.  I grieve the limitations of the poor man's vision and intelligence, I recognize the fear that drove such limited thinking.

It takes vision to redeem and rebuild each other, to offer forbearance to one another.  I think these old ways of do or die, my way or the highway, and strike you're out are on the way out. These are the ways of ultimatum and war.  Honorable men for years functioned within these paradigms, but these were paradigms that allow us, after what we feel is due warning, to slay one another, either literally or figuratively.  These ways waste valuable time and resources and offer little redemption.  These are the ways of fear itself.

The Way that always seeks redemption fervently believes that the only thing to fear is fear itself.  If we seek redemption in all aspects of experience, there is nothing that can harm us permanently. Everything can be healed.  Knowing this, I am going to believe that something better is coming to us, in the guise of a fearsome loss.  We move from the fearful Darkness into the verdant valley where we can meet Redemptive Love.

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