Magazine article National Catholic Reporter

Fears, and Faith, in the Weeds. (Starting Point)

Magazine article National Catholic Reporter

Fears, and Faith, in the Weeds. (Starting Point)

Article excerpt

I was composting weeds from our flowerbed when, suddenly, I saw a black tail slither under the pile. I gasped and jerked back because I am afraid of snakes. I always have been, ever since I was a child and accidentally stepped on one barefoot. My recent snake encounter caused me to reflect on some of my past fears and what I have learned from them.

Most fears are a result of inexperience, lack of education or spiritual trust. I asked my husband what his greatest fear in life has been, and without hesitation, he said that it's fear of taking a risk and stepping out in faith regarding his career. He stayed in a job he strongly disliked, which caused him stress for 30 years because he says he was afraid to leave what was familiar for the unknown. Now, at the age of 49 he has returned to college to study psychology and has begun searching for a new job that is right for him. I can see the new light in his eyes and the sense of adventure he feels regarding this major life change. He has stopped berating himself for not doing this sooner and, as he lets go of his many regrets, he explains, "I can see now the light of encouragement was always there."

We have found that light to be patient, consistent, revelatory and piercing, the more our faith matures and as we spiritually come of age. When I was younger I encountered a vibrant, young nun who had begun to include the feminine nature of God in her prayer services. I remember how scandalous it seemed and how closed to it I was at the time. Now I wonder how I could have been so narrow. It was fear and the desire to please people by following crowd consensus and not daring to ask questions or be unpopular. My earnest yet unseasoned faith did not yet know what an evolution the journey of faith entails for everyone.

My greatest fear was that of losing a child. …

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