Tuesday, October 3, 2023

I Was Thinking... Be Not Afraid

On a recent Sunday, the sermon theme was “Be Not Afraid.” Our pastor said it is stated 365 times in the Bible. That means there is one for every day of the year. That got me thinking.

I know, in church, during the sermon, you should be paying attention to what is being said and not let your mind wander. But at my age, if I get a thought and don’t write it down soon, it will vanish into thin air. So, I grabbed a little card in the pew and jotted down a couple quick thoughts. But in my defense, I was still concentrating on the sermon theme, but was just figuring out how I could use it later.

There are always times in our lives when we face fears. For people my age, we didn’t have pre-school, and in my case, there was no kindergarten either. So, the first day of school was scary. But I wasn’t going into a class with a bunch of other 1st graders, there was just me and Linda. We were the only two in first grade in my one room country school with grades 1-8. Everyone else was bigger.

But I adjusted and found there was little to fear. These were my neighborhood kids and even though there were lots of different ages, things worked out.

For my 8th grade year, I would be attending school in town with 8th graders from all over the area. While I knew a few kids, most of them were strangers. Many of them had been together for seven years but those of us from the country schools were the new kids and many of us worried how we would fit in. But 8th grade turned to high school and in five years we were the class of 1967. And then we went our separate ways.

College, the next scary scenario. I knew what to expect in high school but no one in my immediate family had ever gone to college. Would I be able to handle it? I started at a two-year facility but only attended one year before I transferred. I had made it through one year while I stayed at home in familiar surroundings.

But now I would be going to a college 300 miles away in a different state. I knew only one other person and not very well. Living in a dorm with a complete stranger and being in a metropolitan setting rather than my small town was all new and scary. But by the time I was ready to graduate, I had made some lifelong friends and even found the person who I would spend the rest of my life with.

Getting married was exciting and scary too. Marriage requires some major adjustments. In addition, I was starting my student teaching in an attempt to be a teacher. I student taught in a school that had more students in one grade than were in my whole high school. But I finished and then had to find a job. While sending out endless applications, I took whatever other jobs I could find to help a struggling young couple survive. It was scary starting to sub because I was in a new school, with new students, and different subjects every day. But eventually a job did come.

The job however required us to re-locate and for my wife to give up her job. We were moving to an area where we knew no one and had no connection. Before the interview I had to ask where Byron was. But it would be a good match that would last for 35 years. When we were able to afford our first house, we had to again move into a community where we knew no one and was a rival district to where I taught.

Our joint fear occurred when we had our first child. What did we know about raising a baby? But with everything else, most of our fears never materialized. But our kids grew up and moved out and we were alone again. Another fearful adjustment.

Finally, my wife and I both retired and had to figure out how to live the next segment of our lives. Now the last chapter is ahead, and anxiety begins to creep in again. But if the sermon’s message holds true like it has, “be not afraid” should carry us through.

Did You Ever Wonder? — What is the color of a mirror?

Photo: I was thinking Ron Albright



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