the essence of fear


There is always something to fear. Diseases, war, crime, a freak traffic accident. I mean, you could live insulated from the world in the confines of your own home and a sinkhole could open beneath you and swallow you up. There is always something to fear. 

Most recently, the world has fixated its fears on the West African outbreak of Ebola. It’s true that Ebola is frightening. It’s vicious. And the reason the virus is spreading so quickly can be attributed to a severe lack of treatment centers, personnel, and equipment. These developing nations were never equipped to handle such a crisis, and now, infected people are being turned away simply due to a lack of beds.

Meanwhile across the pond, America is infected with something different but equally as contagious: fear. In turn, we’ve been slow to respond and gratuitously cautious, to the point of unnecessary quarantine. We’ve entertained the possibility of severe travel restrictions... but won’t that only exacerbate the problem? If the underlying issue perpetuating the disease is a lack of personnel and treatment centers, why aren’t we lending our people, our expertise, our wealth of resources? We’ve let fear consume us, and ironically, we've let the disease equally consume us in the process.

I have so much respect for the medical personnel that are raising their hand saying, “I’ll go.” There are those select few who are staring fear in the face, choosing to put their own welfare on the line in order to serve those that can’t help themselves. To be quite frank, they are the hands and feet of Jesus, who spent his time with lepers and the outcasts of society.

Nothing ever got done—or will ever get done—by living in fear. No world-changer ever said, “you know, I don’t know if it’s worth the risk. I think I’ll play it safe and continue to live in this nice little bubble I’ve put up around myself.” World-changers don’t let fear have the final say. World-changers shed light and initiate change. World-changers let awareness and action overcome comfort.

So as I write this on a plane over Africa, preparing to touch down in Uganda, I am not afraid. Because someone has to do it. Someone has to show the world that there is still beauty, that there is still hope, that there is nothing to fear. Because if not me, who? If not now, when?


Inaction breeds doubt and fear. Action breeds confidence and courage. If you want to conquer fear, do not sit home and think about it. Go out and get busy. - Dale Carnegie