For the past week and a half, I’ve been on a scheduled break from school. I’ve had a lot of time on my hands to do what people do on vacation. In a pandemic. During an election year.
I’ve cruised the news and social media. And it’s been relatively horrifying.
The ads that have littered my mailbox, news feed, and live television alternately tell me that we are in danger of becoming a fascist/socialist/hedonist society. We hate the police. We hate different communities. We hate one another. Our individual rights are in danger. Our communities are in danger. Those most vulnerable among us? Also in danger.
It may be that I’ve watched too much Grey’s Anatomy over the break but I swear I can feel our collective blood pressure rising out of the fear-mongering that infiltrates every aspect of our waking existence.
This morning, I went for a nice long cleansing walk. And while I typically go for a good murdery podcast, my brain and my heart knew that I needed something different. So I listened to that inner voice and fired up Brene Brown’s Unlocking Us Podcast and her interview with Bishop Michael Curry of the Episcopal Church.
They talked for an hour and a half about love, life, faith, and fear.
I took a lot away from the conversation. But the thing that resonated most? The idea that we are all looking at the world through Fear Goggles.
Like those Beer Goggles you wore in college. But you know. Fear.
Beer Goggles made everything look better. They made you feel stronger. Like you could do or be anything. Until the morning when they were gone and you swore they would never don your visage again.
I don’t know when it happened but it seems as though we’ve traded in Beer Goggles for Fear Goggles. And the picture we see ain’t so rosy.
There is no doubt that we live in a world with a lot to be afraid of. A virus that doesn’t play by any established rules. An election where fear is a commodity to be dealt out to anyone with a phone, television, or a mailbox. A 24-hour news cycle where the lines of information and opinion are continually blurred. We are afraid for ourselves, our children, and our communities.
But here’s the thing about fear. It doesn’t discriminate. Fear pays no attention to what political party you belong to or what church you regularly attend. It doesn’t care who you love. Fear doesn’t care about whether or not you wear a mask or what flag you may fly in your yard. It sure as Hell doesn’t care who you vote for. It’s a free resource used by those who wish to keep us all apart and playing small.
You know what? Those purveyors of fear are also afraid. “Of what?” you may ask.
Because when you have no fear, you can do anything. ANYTHING.
Looking at life through Fear Goggles, limits us. They blind us to opportunities. They literally distort our worldview and keep us from doing those things that bring joy to life and positively impact those around us.
It’s been a minute since I was in college so my Beer Goggles have been firmly packed away for several decades. My Fear Goggles are another story entirely. I have them on a lanyard hanging around my neck. Sometimes I put them on and sometimes they just kind of lay there waiting for me. At this point in the game, I think it’s time to trash them and look at the world through my own eyes.
You see, I trust myself to know right from wrong. I trust myself to know when I’m being manipulated and the reason behind it. It’s a gift that only you can give yourself and haven’t you earned it?
So smash them up or leave them on top of your head and forget they’re there (Awww, c’mon I know I’m not the only one). Stop looking at the world through Fear Goggles It makes it too easy to give your power away. Keep your power, be brave, and do something special with it. Because every one of us needs what you have right now.