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My husband had been losing weight. Although we had been taking more walks, I got worried when he started to cough and lose his appetite. My anxiety about his health sky rocketed. I started to envision my life as a widow. I asked him to see the doctor and to write down passwords to some accounts in case I needed them.
One night, when I could not sleep because my fear was so thick, I remembered Jesus saying: “Fear not, for I am with you.” In that instant, I was able to release my shoulders (which had been tense and up around my ears); quiet my mind (“Fear not, Ruth.”); and open my heart to experience compassion toward myself, my husband, and all who are afraid of death.
By relating to my fear differently, I was finally able to fall back asleep. Spiritual practice helped me shift from being paralyzed by fear to being open to God’s Love in the midst of fear. This is the spiritual journey.
Fear, as most of us know, is an emotion that comes up when we perceive a danger or threat. It can arise in the present moment or in anticipation of a future threat. Usually, this emotion creates a whole body reaction and can incite behavioral changes such as fleeing, hiding, or freezing.
This spiritual practice gives us a way out of fear and toward abiding in God’s presence and love.