Dearest friend, when we are in a dark place we can become full of fear. I have been so fearful on occasions. It is then that we need to listen to another’s wisdom. Someone who we respect and trust. I once heard the following advice from Gerard Hughes, an author, speaker and Jesuit priest:
Fear is one of the most destructive emotions.
Fear is a necessary emotion and a destructive one. It is important to bring our Fears into prayer. We need to acknowledge them; then bring them into prayer. Never run from them. If we run from our Fears they never cease to chase us. If we turn around and face them, we often discover, our Fears disappear.
He then recalls the following story about a woman on a Retreat:
A particular person suffered a great deal of fear. One night, while on the Retreat, she had a dream.
She dreamt that she was in the middle of a jungle. The jungle was hot, dark and unyielding. She had instructions to go to Recife. The dreamer had never before heard of Recife. It is a beautiful port city in Brazil, with white sands and palm trees and dissected by waterways. It is called the “Venice” of Brazil. She had no knowledge of that. All she knew was that it was imperative for her to go there.
Behind the trees and dense undergrowth she could sense as much as see, threatening figures who lurked in the shadows. They were terrifying. She was unarmed, helpless, hungry, thirsty and with no idea of which direction to take. She was trapped where she was. She began to realise she had to try these shadowy figures. She had no other choice.
To her amazement they came to her aid. In fact, they turned out to go beyond helpfulness in just pointing out the way. They escorted her all the way to the city.
The dream was a vivid depiction for her of facing her fears.
Gerard Hughes concludes: If we face our fears, we can find them to be the great allies. If we run from them, they continue to chase us.
Dear friend, I have had to face my fears, over the years, one by one. I have also run from them for a time. And, yes, they have continued to chase me. When I first met you I had been frightened, too frightened even to confide in you. And you gave me the picture, no questions asked, not trying to counsel me or ask why I wanted it. You respected my need to talk or not talk; to let God do the healing and you be the conduit without needing to know anything.
Do you remember the picture of Jesus? He was squatting in front of a hostile looking crowd, arm reaching out to the person viewing the picture, eyes deep and searching with love, acceptance and compassion. And as I gazed into His eyes, day after day, I had been crouching in the dust at His feet, naked and exposed. Gradually He clothed me. His eyes full of love and compassion spoke to me. He accepted me. I no longer cared about the hostility of the crowd. It no longer frightened me. I was held safe locked into the loving gaze of Jesus.