"The oldest and strongest emotion of mankind is fear, and the oldest and strongest kind of fear is fear of the unknown."
H.P. Lovecraft, right? Fear sounds like a great topic for a horror writer's blog, especially during October. Just don't tell anyone I haven't finished a story since March, okay? Besides, I'm a human being before I'm a horror writer. And this human being has faced a lot of fear in his life. Note the past tense: faced.
Last night, someone very dear to me asked if I was "scared" of the future. I took a minute to feel the the question, weigh it a little, and try to understand my feelings before I responded.
No. Not scared. I don't fear the future anymore. While I wrestle a bit with the unknown, it's a much healthier relationship than fear. Fear paralyzes and leads to poor judgement. Fear kills dreams and clogs the pathways to achieving goals. Maybe a better word than fear is anticipation, that heightened sense of reality when expecting something important, something big. Something challenging but wholly good.
And the future is good. Life is good, even when it is a struggle. Even when awful tragedy happens, I still have the choice to focus on hope and goodness and the gifts I've been given. Yes, it may be impossible to feel hope and goodness in the midst of the tragic event. I know--I've been there. But the lesson looks different seven months later. None of us make it through life without scars, but scars become stories, and stories remind us of the preciousness of each day. Besides--when "bad things" happen, they will do so whether I allow fear to eat away my life or not. An abundance of fear makes no one safer. That is the lie that fear whispers to us.
Wasted energy, if you ask me. I'd rather save my energy for the road ahead.
So how do I feel about the future? Hopeful. Filled with a healthy level of anticipation. Ready to roll up my sleeves and go to work. It's good.