Monday’s post about my back and forth on the Covid got one response on Facebook: “Be not afraid…” There’s a popular meme that says wearing a mask isn’t living in fear…and then the rest of it.
We’re in the middle of a giant global pandemic unlike anything that’s happened for 102 years.
If there’s ever a time for fear, this would be it.
Fear’s a useful tool. As much as we like to lionize the people around us who live without fear, there’s a name for people who live without fear: dead. (Or Evel Knievel, who’s currently…dead.)
It’s okay to fear the unknown. And we’re pretty much hip deep in the unknown just now. When things like global pandemics occur, the fear’s gonna come whether you invite it or not.
The question isn’t about whether you should be afraid. It’s about how you process the fear.
For some, the answer is to capitulate to whatever generates the fear. Right now, these are the people who want to barricade themselves in, who demand everyone do the same, and who–until there’s a vaccine==view deaths by Covid as the number one thing to be avoided. They’re so fearful of the Covid that they ignore deaths happening because of other things as a result of the Covid response.
On the other side, there are people so afraid that they can’t compromise as a result of their fear. I went out and crowded places before and, by damn, I’m gonna do it again. Because if they give in even a little to their fear, their resolution will crumble and everything will go to hell.
You can’t beat something you fear by hiding from it. And you probably won’t beat it by running across a long, open field to attack it, lest you not be thought of as courageous.
True courage lies in assessing the fear and taking reasonable steps to reduce risk while confronting it. Wearing a mask is a reasonable step. Social distancing is a reasonable step. Taking calculated risks is a reasonable step, even if you agonize a little over them.
Fear isn’t an enemy. At our best, we recognize the fear and come up with ways around that fear. Sometimes that’s a full-on, direct assault, and sometimes it’s running and hiding. There’s a reason guidance for active shooter situations is run-hide-fight. Based on circumstance, each is appropriate.
But I’ll take the fear. Taken with an equal measure of wisdom, it’s the map to success.