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Suns & Shields

By Rachelle Hamlin

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Scared or Sacred

By: Rachelle Hamlin

Fort Fairfield Journal, September 30, 2015

Life ticks forward a day at a time. Even small children get used to this clock that’s so personal to each one of us. To one it is their first day, to another it’s their last. To one comes good news; to another bad. No matter what comes, we cannot control everything that happens to us, yet we try. Some become control freaks, some are wounded or become fiercely aggressive, while others wither or become complacent. Life tests us every single day.

Take my granddaughter’s first week in college. Her Facebook page is raw with emotion. I love how frank and fluent she is explaining her responses to daily challenges; missing a class, turning up at the wrong building, trouble with a locker that won’t open. What I see is that the child in her is not scared. Her inner adult is taking over.

Every day we are just a typo away from creating our own response to what today will dish out to us. Reverse the ca to ac and we either have scared or sacred. Coping with our daily grind we seldom consider that how we handle situations makes a difference in their outcomes. Approaching a situation with fear is a world apart from engaging faith and turning our response into something sacred.

You might wonder what is sacred about being fearless. Actually, I never thought about how simple this is until three weeks ago. I was enjoying my early morning journaling which I try to do after my prayer time and a spiritual reading. The combination that morning thrust this idea forward when I noticed the word scared looked like sacred. In my journal I wrote, “These are polar opposites of the same thing. One is the North Pole of our lives and the other is the South Pole. Most of us live in the temperate zone with our temperaments ranging between the sacred and the scared.”

By nine o’clock that evening my personal life had flipped like a steak on a grill. My husband, George, got assigned a four month job in another state. I was about to get an intense course in making that choice. Thank God for good spiritual practices! I got that warning just in time because in the next three weeks, I had to make a decision for the sacred or the scared over and over.

Emotion one: scared. As the days ticked on, that emotion surfaced and resurfaced like a pod of whales on a good whale watch day. Only the whales are out there, scared is inside. It can seize your brain and leave your good sense in a puddle on the floor on which you stand.

I knew by then that being scared was my north pole and was to be avoided. I also knew that being at my south pole, sacred, seemed impossibly unattainable. Yet, this seemed to be the choice each day laid before me and I had to make it. I have a 17 second rule I like to live by to make sure my mind stays peaceful. So I tried to beat that scared feeling away with my 17 second rule. That was funny! My first effort took 1 ¾ days and lots of patience on my husband’s part. It also forced me to figure out just what it was that I was scared about.

I would resolve one issue and two or three took its place. It was like the nightmarish Disney flick, The Sorcerer’s Apprentice for a while. But I kept aiming for a 17 second response to things. One day we were driving down the highway (my least favorite pastime) when I noticed how happy I was. Hey, wait a minute! I’m not supposed to be happy, I’m at the North Pole here! But, I wasn’t scared. What was going on?

Suddenly, I realized I was at the South Pole of this thing. I felt SACRED.

Honestly, who knew that sacred could also be a feeling and that I could identify it for what it is? Many of us know that feeling but we call it by other names, such as peace, contentment, happiness, joy, centered, clean, still, whole. Yet all of these are the sacred feelings in our lives.

Had I resolved any of the dangling, entangling and dangerous things in my situation? Not by much. So this sacredness did not come from having resolved the issues I face daily. I believe that my sense of well-being came from the mere act of beating away fear itself, independent of any resolution of particular issues. I believe that all the problems could still remain and even increase or morph into new problems, yet once the scared part that dumps us in our north pole dissolves we can be instantly at the south pole where the sacred feelings are kept.

Putting myself under that 17 second rule made me fearless. I didn’t start fearless. I just decided that I would not surrender to fear. I am not scared. I’m having a good time at the South Pole. And one more thing; most of us have spent our lives living in the temperate zone. This is where our temperaments and tempers can do a lot to destroy either our peace or someone else’s peace. It is where we negotiate and try to bargain so bad days can turn into good days. What a waste! Franklin D. Roosevelt said it best. “We have nothing to fear but fear itself.”



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