Being afraid

I was delighted when I discovered Caryll Houselander.  I found her to be a woman of great honesty about herself and great faith in God.  Here is an excerpt from a letter she wrote, describing how she dealt with great fear as she served as an air raid warden in England during World War I.  Perhaps I’ve already shared it, but it’s worth sharing again.  She offers an approach that I think we can apply to many, if not all, of the challenging emotions we can experience:

During the war I was simply terrified by air raids, and it was my lot to be in every one that happened in London–sometimes on the roofs of these flats, sometimes in the hospital. . . I tried to build up my courage by reason and prayer, etc.  Then one day I realized quite suddenly: As long as I try not to be afraid I shall be worse, and I shall show it one day and break; what God is asking of me, to do for suffering humanity, is to be afraid, to accept it and put up with it, as one has to put up with pain (if it’s not druggable) or anything else.  I am not going to get out of any of the suffering.  From the time the siren goes until the All Clear, I am going to be simply frightened stiff, and that’s what I’ve got to do for the world–offer that to God, because it is that and nothing else which he asks of me.

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