Refocusing on the Present Moment

August 11, 2013


I had a friend who was afraid most of the time. When he and I strolled together on the sidewalk, he’d sometimes open up and tell me about all the things he was afraid of. One winter morning when we were out walking, he admitted he was afraid the cold temperatures would kill off all the buds on the trees, and that in the spring none of the trees would have leaves. He was afraid of living through a summer of barren, leafless trees.

My friend was also afraid of starving. A few years before I knew him, he had lived in a tiny intentional community down in Georgia. This intentional community didn’t have a lot of income, so the food budget was limited. That experience panicked him. Even when I knew him and he could eat as much food as he wanted, he was still in panic mode. What if the food ran out? What if there wasn’t enough? He admitted this was an irrational fear, but it still gripped him. So consequently he ate like a sumo wrestler, hoarding food in his belly against the improbable day when the food might possibly run out.

One day we were eating lunch at a Thai restaurant in Chicago, and he went on at length about how afraid of dying he was. Maybe not the moment of death itself, but the long process of dying that comes before: getting sick, feeling crappy, going to one doctor after another, watching the slow and inexorable trajectory of diminishment, enduring physical pain, losing mental sharpness. It terrified him.

What are you afraid of?

Bible References

  • Luke 12:32 - 33