Fear will hold you prisoner

Joanna Frizzell

 “Fear will hold you prisoner, but love will set you free. Come on Joanna, you can do it. Breathe in….breathe out. Have faith in yourself and in this world, you’re going to die someday anyway so why not make it worthwhile.” I constantly repeat this little paragraph in my head trying to soothe my nervous tension, trying to stir up as much inspiration and motivation as I can. Most of the time quotes and positive thinking puts me right back on track, but lately words have not been of much help. I watch the news and interact with my fellow southern Iowan country- folk, and it only brings worry to my mind and sorrow to my heart.

Everywhere I look all I see is fear. My mother and friends constantly talk about how the United States will only become more of a police state as more and more laws are passed freeing authorities to invade upon our privacy as they see fit. I listen to the daily news as they tell me about new security measures being taken and the billions and billions of dollars it is costing us. And I wonder if it will help one bit. Will it protect us from the rest of the world and all the danger associated with it? Will it protect us from ourselves? I really don’t think so. Thomas Jefferson said,”Those willing to sacrifice freedom for security will not have, nor do they deserve, either.” To me security on this earthly plane is only an illusion. Living is a risk. This world poses challenges and threats day in and day out. From day one it has been a struggle to survive for any inhabitant upon this earth.

Our fear comes from what we do not know (ex. fear of death and the afterworld) and what we cannot control (ex. fear of aging). In reality we have absolutely no control over anything except for ourselves and our own behavior. The most secure people I have ever met all had these things in common; they had the complete faith in themselves, in humanity, in this world, and in the afterworld. They were tolerant, patient, loving, unjudgemental, humble people. And you know what? It was not an easy road to walk down for any of them. It took a lot of concessions and a lot of surrender. They had to let go of their fears. They had to experience the pain of letting go of deeply imbedded prejudice and double standards formed from bitter life experiences. They had to let go of the “rules of conduct” that they learned from their own society’s dogma. Now, I think that these are the kind of people that we should all aspire to be.

For us to achieve world peace we need to let go of our fears. We need to become loving, tolerant, patient, forgiving, aware, faithful, open-minded and open-eared people. Anything created from fear will only create more fear and more obstacles (ex. the atom bomb). What is created from love will only bring more love and more togetherness (ex. Habitat for Humanity). Let go of the need to control and don’t push away things that you are not familiar with just because you are not familiar with them. Celebrate differences, celebrate adversity, and celebrate changes and challenges that come with every day. Life is hard and painful, one struggle after another. And we must embrace our pain and our suffering because that is where our beauty, our revelations, and our greatest accomplishments come from. I would now like to leave you with a quote.

The marvelous richness of human experience would lose something of a rewarding joy if there were no limitations to overcome. The hilltop hour would not be half so wonderful if there were no dark valleys to traverse.” –Helen Keller