This morning in a conversation with a client I have known for many years we ended up in a conversation about fear. It's just been within the past 3 years that other peoples fears and the effect it is having on them has become apparent to me. Before, seeing it wasn't even possible because fear still resided at the core of my existence. It governed everything. Even the "positive" "responsible" things I was doing were all being done from this place of fear and I was completely oblivious to it.
Knowing we are loved and knowing that we are secure in that love is the only thing that can displace the fear that resides in us. Is my client about to make that transition? I do not know but my hunch at this time tells me ...not yet. But my hunch also tells me that she is close. All the things she has placed her trust in and spent her time so responsibly tending to are at this time letting her down and leaving her more fearful and exhausted and frustrated. Like I said, I've known her for many years and this has been a growing trend in her for awhile now. The night is darkest right before the dawn.
We had a wonderful conversation and I as I always do, attempted to allow her fear to be as real as it is to her and at the same time offer to her the reality that will expose it for being what it really is. A reality that is always at work to displace that fear from our lives and set us free. The economic situation and politics and religion are doing in her life what they do best...manipulate our fears in order to shape our behavior. Until the One who is Love is bigger to her than the other things, fear and anxiety will control her and cause her to react in ways that just exacerbate it all.
I love my job and I love these on-going/unfolding conversations/relationships I have with people I have grown to care so deeply about. Jean was going to stop by B&N sometime today and pick up Richard Rohr's book Hope Against Darkness. The subtitle had settled it for her.......The Transforming Vision of Saint Francis in an Age of Anxiety. I thought that would be appealing to a Catholic who is at this time really freaked out and fearful. Her parting words to me went something like this, "I know anxiety well."
"Love is always about giving up control, and people are trained to think of taking control—even of God. In my experience, most people would sooner be afraid and in control than in love and out of control." Richard Rohr