Living with fear
It would be amazing if you didn’t experience some degree of fear in the present lock-down situation. Fear for loved ones who may be at risk. Fear for your own health and well-being. Fear for the country’s future and the global economy.
Fear is in many circumstances a friend. It makes us hesitate before doing risky things. It encourages us to plan for the future – perhaps to put some money in the bank – so that if something unfortunate happens we will have a reserve or a Plan B. Fear of failing an exam may encourage us to prepare for it more diligently. And so it goes on.
But fear can also be debilitating. It can cause panic. It can create a state of anxiety. It can paralyse. It can make someone physically ill. It can cause confused thoughts.
But let’s look coolly at the fears we may have. Some of them may turn out to be out of proportion to the risks.
Say, for example, we are unduly fearful about the risk of dying from Coronavirus. The population of the UK is about 67 million. So far there have been 125,000 confirmed cases of the virus. That means about 1 person in 500 has contracted the disease. 16,500 have died. That means one person in every 3,500 has died. Of course, the deaths are skewed towards those who are older or who have underlying health conditions, but, even so, is the pandemic likely to cause YOUR death? I don’t think so! Other causes of death are in any case far more significant.
Every death is a loss and a sadness. I know that better perhaps than most people. Of course we all want to save every single life. We are hugely grateful to those who are treating coronavirus victims. But that is not the point of the above exercise – which is to show that none of us should let fear of contracting the virus take over our lives. And the same goes for so many other things which people fear excessively and have their lives blighted by.
You could consider it an act of Christian charity to help those we know look realistically at the risks of the things they fear. In many cases they may be relieved to see how small the risk is! In other cases, of course, they may be surprised at how risky their behaviour or circumstances are! That, too, might be an act of Christian charity.