Fear is the cheapest room in the house/I would like to see you living/In better conditions. … God wants to see/More love and playfulness in your eyes/For that is your greatest witness to the Divine. Fear is the cheapest, shabbiest, and most uncomfortable place to live.
This afternoon as I sit here writing my, A Few Shades Braver Blog after taking a short break, it appears that we as a people have made a collective decision to accept the invitation to occupy the cheapest rooms in the house.
A few days ago, I listened carefully to a couple of journalists support the fear market, actually they were a couple that I have a bit more appreciation for than most because they do seem to care about the truth, but they allowed themselves to engage fear rather than courage. I imagine that it is very easy to fall into the trap of accepting that invitation when there is so much negative energy jubilantly dancing in so many of the streets in our cities and towns, but they had an opportunity to reshape the narrative by imagining an outcome that did not support fear. Since most of what was said was simply conjecture because no one really knows what the future will bring, it could have a better outcome than one could imagine if fear did not dominate the analysis. It is disappointing to listen to the ways in which media framing is seldom used to support moving out of fear’s room. It is usually quite the opposite and is used to support being afraid.
In a period that spanned the past few days, we have witnessed a sixteen-year-old teenager being shot for ringing the wrong doorbell when trying to pick his brothers up from a play date, a young woman being shot because she got on the wrong van as she was returning from a sporting event or as in one case when a young driver pulls into the wrong driveway.
What on earth is fueling this fear fire in our country? We turn our heads when our little children are shot at school by crazed shooters with assault weapons, we pretend we don’t know that these are atrocities which are occurring, but they are, and we are aware. We cannot keep pretending that we don’t hear or see these acts of terror and we have to rethink our current conviction of standing behind perpetrators more solidly than standing with victims. We have to vacate our “thoughts and prayers” mantra in the face of them and step up the plate with open hearts that seek to hear how to make a better response and how to act.
We have multiple examples of the manner in which we as a nation affirm our allegiance to fear rather than seeking to affirm the value of the common good and striving to support community. When the citizens of a nation cannot feel relatively safe when simply going about the routine of their daily lives as is the case for us in the United States, we need to reflect upon what we need to do.
Fear is the cheapest room in the house. We don’t have to live there being afraid of our fellow humans because we have projected them into being less than we consider ourselves to be or so much different until fearfulness is the only response, we can make to them. We can move into new spaces.
Each day of the week we sit in our houses of faith proclaiming that there is a Creator in the Universe and that our relationship and allegiance to that Creator means something. Thus, it appears that we might need to interrogate that collective claim because if we believe in this energy that creates, imagines, hopes, and loves us all why are we so afraid and why do we have the world that we inhabit at the moment?
Our living conditions can be better. The Creator wants to “see more love and playfulness in our eyes,” the poet says. But until we can turn our imagination and intention from fear to that direction of love and playfulness not one thing will change.
What is one thing that you can do today to start the journey from fear to a new way of seeing and if you have done that already, what is the next step that you need to take to move further along the path? This is a solo decision that each of us has to make and nurture as we are confronted with all of the voices of doom and gloom around us that are committed to the fear market. We have to choose each day whether or not to stay in “the cheapest room in the house or move into better living conditions.”
Let’s be a half shade braver!