The ordeal of fear

Once upon a time, there was a servant of a rich man who lived in Susa of Persia. His wealthy merchant and master sent the servant downtown on an errand early one day. While the servant was winding his way through the crowds and the streets of the town, he suddenly noticed Death amid the multitude. The servant thought that Death gestured to him in a threatening manner. In fear, he fled back to the merchant’s home. After he told his master that he must escape from Death, the servant saddled a horse and fled to Samara. As fast as he could ride, he rode off to that city far away from Susa, looking to escape Death and Death’s accomplice-Fear.

The merchant, disturbed by Death’s running off his servant, returned to the crowded streets where Death was last seen. Finding him quickly, he confronted him openly, “Why did you threaten my servant?” Death denied any threatening gestures toward his servant. Then Death added this ironic twist; “It was I, who was startled, for I, Death, had an appointment with your servant this evening in Samara. I was surprised to find him here in Susa.”

The servant, filled with fear, fled as fast as he could to Samara after his rendezvous with Death.

What is true in this ancient Persian parable is true for us in the 21st century. Fear can capture us, and the result is emotional or physical Death. Fear causes us to do more to ourselves than fear could ever do to us. Ironically, fear cannot do anything to us unless we allow it to happen by running off to our Samaras.

Fear is, in the final analysis, impotent except for the power that we mistakenly give to it. Fear causes us to ride madly to our Samaras. If we remain where we are and face fear squarely, we will find that we can take on worry and conquer it. Then, we will discover again that we have nothing to fear but fear itself.

God bless you!

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