On Being Scared

I spent some time this weekend with an old friend, a dentist. She's considering buying her own practice, but wonders if she could retain the current patients and attract new ones. She wonders if the office staff would like her, or befriend her too much, or resent her, or desert her; she wonders about bill collecting, spending too much time on crowns and root canals (which she likes) at the expense of oral surgery (which she doesn't); she wonders about being a good wife and mother and all-around person. She's scared.

My friend is intelligent, well organized, energetic, terrific with teeth... but scared. It makes me think we all are. Scared we'll lose the company's big Formica account, scared we'll miss the time change, scared we're handling the kids' curfew wrong, scared our money will be in all the dumbest places when tax laws change, scared of our failing health, scared of everything falling apart, scared that nobody really loves us, scared of the fragility of all creation. Scared.

O Spirit of Life and Love, we aren't the giants we'd like so much to be, and the world can loom so large. When all is quiet and we are small and the night is dark, may we hear the tender breathing of all who lie awake with us in fear, that together we may gather strength to live with love, and kindness, and confidence.