Volume 46, Issue 5 - June 2011


Now … I’m Afraid
by Lyle R. Hill

I grew up on the far west side of Chicago. And I grew up fast … meaning that at an early age I learned the importance of not getting myself into circumstances from which there was not a way out.

This is not to say that I grew up worry-free. Like most kids, I had to deal with the playground bullies, the neighborhood thugs and the ever-present fears that simply come with being a kid … things like ghosts, zombies and strange, incurable diseases frightened me. And on some occasions (because then, as now, I was a church-attending guy), the fear of hell was preached into me as well.

As I moved into my teenage years, new fears replaced the old ones. Would I be able to pass the driver’s license exam? Would I be cut from the high school baseball team? Would I ever outgrow the curse of acne? Teenagers tend to live in the moment and so, for the most part, my teenage years were not spent dealing with any fears that were of a lasting nature.

Early adulthood brought with it a whole new set of fears, especially after the kids started to arrive. Money took on a different meaning, as did the importance of things like health insurance and job security. My new set of fears was more outwardly directed. I started worrying for and about those that I loved … those for whom I felt responsible.

Professionally speaking, adulthood also brought previously unknown fears with it. The construction industry is demanding. The pace is unbelievable and mistakes are costly. Legal issues, labor problems, irresponsible vendors, shaky bankers, unscrupulous brokers, political hacks, deadbeat customers all exist … but these weren’t fears, they were daily realities. For the most part, though, there were never enough hours in the day anyway so there was little time for fear.

But now, the pace of my life has slowed a bit and this has created time for contemplation … for analysis … for worry … and for fear. Yes, real fear, but a fear far different than that of my earlier years.

This article is being written on May 23, 2011, two days after the world was to forever be changed. On May 21, according to a California based minister turned prophet by the name of Harold Camping, an event known as The Rapture was to occur. This is the event that will see the believers removed from the earth in preparation for its judgment … kind of a quick evacuation plan, if you will, for the righteous among us. There are all kinds of theories and interpretations about all of this, and while I have read the Bible through from cover to cover and certain parts of it numerous times, I’m the first to admit that much of this is a mystery and, I think in many cases, a mystery by design.

The first I knew about Camping’s prediction was when a notice appeared on a very large billboard a couple of miles north of my home. At first I thought it was an advertisement for a movie, but I soon realized that it was not only a prophecy that many were taking seriously but that it was also generating quite a buzz. After all, how would you like to see people you thought you were a lot better than taken away while you were left behind? Even more perplexing, how would you like to explain why you were still here and they were not?

Camping used a very elaborate set of calculations to come up with this date and there was a logic to it that to some … his followers for sure … seemed to make sense. The Bible says that no man will know the timing of these things so I wasn’t too worried, although I did wait until today to write this now past due article. By the way, in case you’re interested, Camping now says he had his facts right but made an interpretive error and the revised date for the rapture event is now October 21, 2011.

I read a lot, watch a fair amount of TV news and listen daily to the local news radio programming that is available to me. So I think I’m pretty up to speed on what’s going on in the world, with what our political leaders are proposing, and on what the movers and shakers of society are doing. I consider myself an informed person.

So, in case you missed it last week, the Atlanta-based Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released recommendations by way of a blog from Assistant Surgeon General Ali Khan to the general population on how to react in the event that you live in an area that is invaded by zombies … yes, zombies … not blood-sucking lawyers … brain-eating zombies. The blog stressed the importance of a quick evacuation strategy in particular. The posting site crashed last Wednesday after 30,000 people flooded it. Sometime later, CDC spokesman Dave Daigle claimed it was only meant as a gimmick to get people to start to think and plan for disasters.

So here I sit, rightfully or wrongfully considering myself informed and current and I gotta tell you, I am afraid. Very afraid, in fact … no, not of zombies, rapture events or of an unforeseen return of the teenage acne curse. I am now deathly afraid of US! You think I’m wrong? Pick up a newspaper, turn on the radio, look in the mirror, talk to some of your coworkers, relatives or neighbors and after taking it all in, tell me you’re not afraid. Franklin Roosevelt was wrong when he said “We have nothing to fear but fear itself.” We have each other!!!

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