Sunday, September 28, 2008
"There are more things, Lucilius, that frighten us than injure us, and we suffer more in imagination than in reality."
"I have a fear of fishing hooks," I confessed to my friend the other day.
"A terrible fear of them."
Indeed, I dread the cruel, spine-tingling barbs that, once wedged in their prey, are not easily removed. Were that prey to be some unfortunate human skin, my fears would be realised.
But as the words were tumbling forth I heard them, all at once, with a different ear, and I was struck by the absurdity of my own offhand comment.
I said as much to my friend, who listened patiently.
"That makes no sense," I continued, shocked. "I can't recall the last time I was even near a fishing hook!"
The notion that I would be made nervous by an object that never enters my days seemed not only highly irrational but hysterically funny.
"It's as ridiculous as admitting," I said, "that I have a fear of space shuttles!"
My friend, who knows the likelihood of my ever being forced to face a space shuttle, understood immediately and laughed along with me.
I suspect that if, in the course of my travels, I met a fishing hook, I would be diligent and careful in my handling of it, and the shadows of fright would soon vaporise.
Not every fear is grounded in reality, nor are they all necessarily useful: if only we took the time to better understand the concerns that burden us, we might be granted a better perspective on the worth and validity of our worries.
Posted by Phyllis Hunt McGowan at 8:25 AM