No Fear in the New Year
Fear can rob a person of joy and spoil moments of "have" with fear of not having. Instead, let's resolve to savor joyful moments and share our blessings with others.
It's been said that living through hard times teaches appreciation for good times. That going without helps us to value what we have. Not always.
Sometimes uncertainty causes us to cling tighter to things for fear of losing them. The poor economy has triggered a recalibration and refocus toward practical things like how to cook at home, how to do more with less and how to carefully consider our choices instead of impulsively chasing the "BBD" (Bigger, Better Deal).
But these times have also brought about an elevated level of anxiety for some, fear about the future and fear of loss. What once seemed an endless party of potential has morphed into a gray winter morning where some hope that careful steps will prevent economic slips and falls.
But living fearfully might be unnecessary in a city like Woodbury, which is filled with generous people willing to lend a helping hand. So maybe this January we should resolve not to fear the future but instead stay focused on helping each other through tough times.
I'm guilty of harboring a fearful mindset. I squirrel away cash, buy groceries on coupon and breathe a sigh of relief every payday. While it's proper for me to be cautious, closer examination might reveal that my actions are steeped in fear. Fear of the "what if."
What if that paycheck stops coming? What if bills pile up? What if vacations, phone service and movie nights get cancelled?
I'm not minimizing the real and painful experience of deprivation. I've been there. I've cried myself to sleep at night unsure of how to make a payment. Those were times of stress that I'd prefer not reliving. So I clench and I fret.
What good does this disquiet do? We may one day feel pinched tighter than we would care to be—even beyond practical lessons of eating out less and turning the thermostat down. But previous generations grew gardens, learned new skills, started new businesses. Some traveled across oceans and plains seeking opportunity. It shouldn't be unheard of to help take care of our neighbors' children, provide a senior citizen a ride to the doctor or regularly invite friends to dinner.
We can do what needs to be done. Many already are. And they shouldn't have to do it alone. So let's continue to take care of each other. Keep up those donations to places like the Christian Cupboard that distributes food and other items to those facing tough times.
Maybe organize a group of friends or family and serve a meal for Loaves and Fishes, an organization that provides nutritious meals to hungry people in the Twin Cities Metro area. Or check out the local philanthropic goals outlined by the Woodbury Community Foundation, whose aim is to ensure community well-being for all in Woodbury.
Fear can rob a person of joy and spoil moments of "have" with fear of not having. Instead, let's resolve to savor joyful moments, share our blessings with others and have faith that if we fall, we're surrounded by a community willing to help us up.