Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Does Fear Define Us?

I woke this morning in the midst of a dream. One of those dreams that feels real ~ that shakes you and puzzles you all at the same time.

I was working for a young man who called me into his office to ask me if I could or would 'take care of' several employees. Remaining quiet, I listened as he proceeded to give me pointers on how to do it. Then he instructed me to escort one of them to an interview. When I left his office, two men were waiting for me. We took a golf cart to an open area with an elevator. The men asked me to accompany them down to the interview. I declined, claiming claustrophobia. Trying to shake a bad feeling about the trip, I went through a door in the huge glass walls in front of me. I found myself outside, on a hillside above a creek or river. I heard voices behind me and decided to slide down the muddy hill, in skirt and heels. As I started down the incline, I heard a loud 'POP' from the direction of the elevator ~ then another. I knew a bomb had been detonated. After reaching the water's edge, I started angling up a grassy slope almost immediately next to where I'd slid down. Assuming I'd been knocked over the edge by the bomb, several people helped me up when I arrived at the crest.

Upon waking, I checked my phone only to discover, through Facebook's Safety Check stating a friend who lives in Brussels was safe, that there had been a bombing in Brussels. More terrorist actions. More reason to fear. I only felt grief-stricken. Was this related to my dream? Was my dream related to this?

Then came the declaration of responsibility from the Islamic State ~~ and all the news items using the term terrorist attack over and over again ~~ and a candidate running for the US presidency proposing using waterboarding on any suspects.

I slowly began to understand my grief. What do we know about what happened? More now, certainly, than we did then. Yet our first reaction is fear.... "Oh, no! Not again!" And the media drives this by focusing on the terror aspect. We seem to want to frighten ourselves ~~ to take the adrenaline hit ~~ to lash out at the 'other,' no matter who that may be. What about the people who helped others through the trauma? What about the families of those who were injured or died? Why don't we first pray for them? Think of the possible bright spots? Why do we prefer the darkness and fear? Why do we focus on the injured and dead only in terms of victims? The language we use, the choice of reaction, the hope or hate we give breath to truly defines us. Which defined you?

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