“The Lord is my shepherd… though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil for you are with me. Your rod and your staff give me strength, comfort, and courage… “
If Leonard Cohen is right – and I believe he is – this is the secret chord that David played and it pleased the Lord. David wrote his psalm – this, the 23rd – some 3,000 years ago, and its message remains true, hard, and fast:
I will fear no evil for God is with me.
For many years, John O’Donohue’s universal truth is the concluding statement on our home page:
“Prayer is the presence that holds harmony in the midst of chaos. Every time you pray, you add to the light and harmony of creation. If you do not pray, if you do not believe in prayer, then you are living off the prayers of other people.”
In recent months, America has drifted away from this sentiment, of course, that assumes that America held the sentiment in the first place. I believe there was a time when America did.
Too few people pray, and those that do may waiver in their deep commitment to the words and thoughts that they pray. Hence, chaos.
America is overrun with fear.
In his 1933 inaugural address, President Franklin D. Roosevelt paraphrased Henry David Thoreau and told America, “… the only thing we have to fear is…fear itself — nameless, unreasoning, unjustified terror…” Ninety years later, Americans fear everything. Risks and rewards are no longer weighed as we allow worst-case scenarios to hold us bondage to our homes, fearful that a breath of fresh air will be our undoing.
If that first group of hominids had not migrated out of Africa and into Europe and Asia, I am certain others would have.
If Columbus had not sailed the ocean blue, I am certain someone else would have.
If Neil Armstrong had not stepped onto the lunar surface, I am certain someone else would have.
When Tom Bourdillon and Charles Evans came up 330 feet short of the summit of Mt. Everest on May 26, 1953, Edmund Hillary and Sherpa climber Tenzing Norgay made it to the summit two days later.
If Elon Musk does not make it to Mars, I am certain someone else will.
Those that do, fear no evil.
Those that do, understand the risks and accept them without remorse.
Those that do, those that always move forward are our future.
Our children need to be in school interacting face-to-face with their peers. Our children need to be in the fresh air exercising their bodies. Our children must learn to pray and not to fear.
To live life fully, one accepts risk. Not to accept risk is to lead an unfulfilled life.
I accept risk.
I fear no evil.