PARADOXICAL

The faith chronicles

Sunday, July 16, 2006

 

The tag price of fear


How much do you fear? Let me do the accounting for you.

A P1,000,000 life insurance policy. P500,000 credit limit and 100,000 cash advance limit. Car insurance. Memorial plan, just in case. Health plan, just in case. Educational plan for your theoretical children. Pension plan for your old age. The latest in fashion, lest you be perceived as a has-been. Enrolment at Golds’ Gym to keep you fit and make you look desirable, lest you get ditched by your rich fiancée, who made sure you signed on a prenup. Jewelry you won't really wear but more as investment and something for the pawnshop. Paintings you don't really enjoy but, again, more as investment and status symbol. Time-deposits and trust funds (for the kids). Safes to store them all. Time-delay lock especially for the cold cash and the gold bars. Masters and doctorate degrees to keep me competitive in the marketplace. Tracts of land in the countryside before the real estate price shoots up, for my retirement. Mile-high gate and perimeter fence, lest the gang of thieves strike. A phalanx of security guards to keep watch over everything when you’re not around. A personal escort, to scare away would-be kidnappers. A top-notch lawyer to sort everything out legally. Alarm clock to wake you up each morning or you get late for work.

A pack of cigarettes a day. Alcohol, maybe, to calm the nerves. Regular medical check-ups for your irregular heartbeat.

Fear is so expensive, but is it worth it?

**

What are my fears? Here's an entire litany.

Sudden death. A death in the family. Mysterious, incurable illness. Road accident. House catching fire. Earthquake while walking down Ayala Avenue. Loss of job. Permanent physical handicap. Loved one leaving. Parents separating. Communicable skin disease. Filariasis. Elephantiasis. Cancer. AIDS. Ebola. Dengue. Mad cow disease. Plane crash. Shipwreck. Being kidnapped for ransom. Being held hostage by jihadists. Robbers, murderers, drug addicts breaking into my place. Financial bankruptcy. Insecurity of tenure. Staying single for life. Infertility. Impotence. Terrorist bombing. Guns. Being hit by a stray bullet on New Year’s Day. Getting jailed, getting prosecuted. False accusation. Death penalty. A total stranger dying on me. War. Coup d’etat. Nuclear explosion. Asteroid hitting Earth. Ingesting poison. Muggers o the street. Being cloned without my consent. My internal organs stolen while I’m asleep. Sex change without my consent. Being stoned to death as punishment in Saudi Arabia. Genetically modified organisms causing widespread and irreversible ecological pollution. Species extinction. Exhaustion of energy resource, depletion of raw materials. Polar caps melting. Repeat of the Great Flood. Global warming, resulting to floods engulfing entire cities and countries. The three days of darkness. The Apocalypse. Armageddon. The Second Coming in my lifetime. Total mechanization of labor. Genocide. Martial Law. Never waking up again. Ghosts, monsters. The devil showing up in my room. Drowning. Sharks. Wild animals finding their way to my living room. Tsunami. Getting caught right in the eye of a sandstorm, snowstorm, hurricane, thunderstorm. Choking without anyone around to give me the Heimlich maneuver. Getting hit by lightning. Prolonged drought. Famine, food riots. An arson for a neighbor or roommate. Horror movies. Demonic possessions. Being left alone at the mortuary, cemetery past 12 PM. Being left alone in outer space in the middle of a spacewalk. Escaping butt-naked in a burning hotel, with an eager public watching the spectacle. Phone calls in the dead of the night. Getting trapped in a traffic jam while rushing to the ER in an ambulance. Falling from the topmost sat of the Ferris wheel. Failure. Talking in front of a critical, hostile audience. Stage fright. Singing in public. Writer’s block. Befriending people who might hurt me. Rejection from someone who matters. The police looking at my general direction for no particular reason. The New People’s Army recruiting me. Atheists.

Fear has been good to me. Thanks to it, what I know shall kill me makes me want to avoid it. Because of it, until now I am still alive, in one piece. Thanks a lot, fear.

But my fears and phobias have stunted my personal growth. I am guilty of worrying too much, of not trusting enough. I need to be healed of my outsize fears.

2.2001


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