Often Our Fears Are Unfounded!


Many years ago we lived in a small town in northern Idaho. We were excited to build a modest home for our growing family. Our three small children ranged from the age of five to one. Our neighbors to one side were as nice as can be. On the other side was a family that moved out shortly after we finished building our house. The new neighbor was a single man who looked nice enough. Within a week of his move-in we were out in the yard with the kids when our new neighbor came out to do some yard work. It wasn’t long before I heard a blue streak of obscenities coming out of his mouth. I glanced over to see him pacing around his yard screaming words into the heavens. They were words that would embarrass even the most hardened sailor. It was a scary feeling so I gathered up the kids and retreated to the safety of our new home. I didn’t know how to react to this situation. I will confess that I thought it rather arrogant of this man to shout such obscenities in the presence of my wife and kids. I came to the conclusion that this man was dangerous! What to do, what to do? Should I call the police? Should I confront him, or should I do nothing? I soon found out that his man was suffering from a rare form of Tourette Syndrome.

“Tourette’s was once considered a rare…syndrome, most often associated with the exclamation of obscene words or socially inappropriate and derogatory remakes, but this symptom is present in only a small minority of people with Tourett’s. ” (Wikipedia).

Once I understood that my neighbor was suffering from Tourett’s, my fear subsided and I realized that my anger towards him was based in ignorance. From time to time he would still have outbursts, but, with my new-found education, I reacted differently. I no longer felt fear, but, rather sympathy for a man who suffered from a debilitating handicap.  I was taught, once again, that my judgement was based on limited information. I continue to make assessments about others, but I try to reserve my final judgement till all the facts are in. Sometimes that is never! Judgement is an important use of our agency, but we must use righteousness when we do so.

As I grow older and interact with other people, I realize just how little I know about them,  and how little most know about me. We do have reason to be fearful of some in this life. But, I’ve found that if we take the time to objectively learn about others, often our fears are unfounded. And I guess, I might add, that taking the time to educate ourselves while living in ‘fearful’ times, such as today;  is also a way we can deal with fear so we are not left unnecessarily paralyzed.

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