Too Long in the House of Fear

Weekly Reflection, Friday, May 21

By: Denise Bennett

Do not tarry too long in the house of fear,
The windows are so dirty, black soot belches from the chimney,
And seeps back inside, poison recycled
Over and over and over again.
For God’s sake, take a deep breath!
Open the door.
Open the windows.
In the sunlight, things look better.
Feel your feet planted exactly where they are.
A pebble under your heel reminds you that you are alive and there is more here than the
Frightening collage of jagged ugly pictures ripped from the headlines. The forsythia tells you that yellow is the best cure.
The English ivy says, “persist and endure.”
The white blossoms on the little plum trees give way to bright green and whisper:
“There is spring inside you.
There is fruit not yet seen.”

I was looking for something in my journal this morning and I came across this poem that I had written back in March of 2020. Even though I was thinking about the pandemic, and all the frightening things going on back then, I think not tarrying “too long in the house of fear” is important at any time. It also made me think of Pentecost. The book of Acts tells us that the disciples huddled together in the upper room after Jesus had ascended, waiting for whatever would come next, fearful but also hopeful.

We can always choose trust over fear; even if it is only moment by moment, breath by breath. It is no coincidence that the words in both Hebrew and Greek for the Spirit, are also the words for breath. As we open the doors wide again, in our churches and our lives, there will be new opportunities and new challenges. The “new” is exciting and it can also be frightening. Take a deep breath, go outside. The forsythia may have already gone green, but there are always dandelions if you need some yellow in your life – and an example of tenacity! Most of all, trust the Holy Spirit who is always with us.