Fear Factor

Recently in the news, we have been bombarded with fear producing stories.  Stories out of the Dominican Republic of vicious attacks on a resort property, tourists dying in their beds, visitors disappearing.  The alleged murder of a US attorney general at a Club Med in Turkoise (Turks & Caicos) last October (by all accounts and pocket books, an expensive, high end resort), a Texas couple recently dying in Fiji, a cruise ship collision with a tourist boat in Venice, trouble with specific makes of airplanes, terrorism attacks, kidnappings and everyone is familiar with the scare tactics implemented to keep people away from Mexico.  In so many cases, as with most of the sensationalized news fed to us Americans, there are details missing that are important to know in order to speak intelligently about many of these situations, and yet, fear is what rules us.

Did you know that one of the original reasons the concept of an “All Inclusive” resort came about was because the builders/planners/innovators of this concept wanted to create a haven of safety in a place that might otherwise not be considered “safe” for everyone?  Many of these places are in the equatorial belt – the paradise islands with crystal blue water and lush tropical landscapes.  SOME of these places also boast revolutionary governments or no proper governments at all.  Some of these governments are corrupt and poorly aligned.  They have disgruntled and disenfranchised citizenry and poverty is rampant.  They are crossroads for drugs, dark undergrounds and unseemly characters – and this is nothing new.  But these places have and continue to provide the respite many Americans and Europeans enjoy, and yet, when bad things happen – many times out of lack of common sense, we are afraid.

Fear binds us.  It doesn’t allow us to grow and it keeps us stagnant in our learning and in our full experience of life.  Are there truly UNSAFE places in the world?  Well, yes.  And even more so, I think that depends on who you are and your purpose for going to a place.  People live and thrive in many places I would consider dangerous, and yet missionaries and humanitarians travel to these places all the time.

I once visited Bogota, Colombia (about 20 years ago) and the people I was visiting assigned a family member to me as a personal “guide” (bodyguard).  I was a cute, tall, blue eyed, blonde, young American woman – prime for the ransom/kidnapping market.  I did not go out at night and did not venture outside of public places or familial settings.  I was cool with that.  Precautions were taken for safety.  Don’t we do that all the time to mitigate dangerous situations?  We wear seat belts, force our kids to wear helmets, we don’t (or shouldn’t) walk alone at night, we don’t leave our buddy and we don’t take candy from strangers.  We don’t get into a stranger’s car, we don’t meet someone in private we met on the internet and we don’t give out our address on-line.  We caution our kids about on-line interactions and warn them about the dangers of drugs.  We implore them not to text and drive and beg them to call us instead of driving home drunk.  Bad things happen everywhere.  The occurrence of bad things will not be the guiding force in my life.

Some people cannot overcome the fear.  I think what it boils down to is that they are afraid of death; their own or a loved one’s.   I know people who have longed to travel to Europe – absolutely DREAMED of it and have the means to do it but will not go out of fear.  Fear of terrorism, fear of not knowing how to get around, the language, the culture, fear of what might be happening at home, fear of dying.  So, they stay and they dream and they fear and they miss out.  In my perspective, they will regret being held in place by irrationality.

There is no shaming here – just an acceptance of how our choices shape our being.  I personally have a low opinion of fear.  I have things I very much dislike – the dentist, for example.  It is irrational and I know it and I go to the dentist every six months anyway.  I am not fond of heights, but I like to fly, go on roller coasters and climb ladders, but I am cautious when I do these things.  I am not afraid of dying.  I am confident that the people I love know my love for them, and I am resigned to the multitude of things in this life of which I have no control.  I am confident in my salvation and everlasting life in Jesus Christ.  I know I could walk out my door this very second and die – die behind the wheel, die of some horrible and fast moving disease, die of carbon monoxide poisoning, die by getting kicked in the head by a horse, die by drowning, get electrocuted in my bathroom…..do I need to go on?

I choose life.  I choose adventure.  I won’t miss out!  That is MY take on fear.

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