Wednesday, April 17, 2013

I Am Afraid

I am afraid.

Not very afraid, just a little.  Mostly, I am afraid of using my days poorly.

But I'm not really afraid of death.  I'm not really afraid that my plane will fall from the sky, or that the economy will collapse.  Close calls from asteroids and comets don't worry me even a little bit.

There are a lot of things I don't want to lose - my job, my health, and especially my friends and loved ones - but I don't see the point of spending a lot of time worrying about that, especially since losing them is inevitable.

In his Ethics, Aristotle reminds us that courage is not the absence of fear.  (The absence of all fear is just another kind of foolishness.) Courage is being afraid of the right things.  Like living badly, or bringing shame and dishonor to oneself, to one's family and friends, to one's nation.

So I admit it: I'm a little afraid of wasting the time I'm given, of not living a life of love, of failing to live joyfully.  I'm a little afraid that today I'll squander time on things that don't matter while not giving myself to those I love.  I'm afraid of worshiping things that don't deserve my worship.

Thankfully, I'm not in charge of all time.  I'm only in charge of what I do right now.  Which means I have something positive I can do with that little fear of mine: I can fight it by doing something that matters.  Right now.

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