Sometimes your belief system is really your fears attached to rules.
I had a dream last night that I was inside a building, and all I could hear was screaming- these terrible cries, over and over. I kept running down hallways trying to get to whomever it was, to try and make it stop. To help, if I could. I got it in my head that it was people trapped outside the building, trying to get in. I finally got to a window and looked outside. There were faceless people standing there. They were looking up, but they weren’t making a sound.
It wasn’t them screaming.
Like every good horror movie, the voices were coming from inside the building.
I went to bed thinking about the refugee crisis, and I woke up thinking about it. Clearly.
Those terrified cries were the voices of fear. Fear disguised as ideology. Fear disguised as pragmatism. Fear even having the audacity to cloak itself in the garments of its antithesis- faith.
I’ve never been a politician. I am sure there are complications and aspects of being a legislator that I do not understand or even know about, which makes it difficult to empathize. I’ve been humaning for a few minutes now, though, so I can speak to that experience.
When I am afraid, I am quicker to anger, quicker to judgment, slower to forgive. I have a tendency to assign intentions to others, and they are seldom flattering and often inaccurate. I make bad decisions when I am afraid. I veer toward catastrophic thinking. I say no more often than yes. I am self-serving. I am ungenerous. I fail to think things through to the end. I am self-destructive. Hell, just DESTRUCTIVE.
In short, I am the very worst version of myself.
I don’t have any answers. I’m going to try and greet those fearful cries with some compassion today. I am going to try and address the fear and ignore the rhetoric. Before I respond, if I respond, I am going to look for the frightened person behind the bluster. I’m going to look right at those fears. We’ve all faced them in one arena or another. I’m going to gently call them by their names. Danger. Scarcity. The unknown.
There are two basic motivating forces: fear and love.
Let’s pick love today. Even when it’s hard.