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Three Meter Zone | JD's Bunker | Poetry | Chapel | American Journal


THE OLD NEIGHBORHOOD

 

Paul Schneidmill

 

In the evening Bible Study class (affectionately known as “Spiritual Growth Night”) held last evening (Wednesday, January 26, 2005) at the Beulah Baptist Church in Old Town, Alexandria, Virginia (my Church of “family-ship”) our class learned and shared on the subject of “fear.”

 

Like many words in the English language, the word “fear” has several distinct meanings.  The specifics of the definition of the term as taught by the inimitable and “for real” Reverend Patricia Williamson, zeroed in on anxiety, fright, helplessness, and terror, from the position that those (and other relative) characteristics of fear, can easily become and be, a “prison” to each of us. 

 

If you have never experienced fear in any of the related aspects mentioned above, you may stop reading now and begin a new career teaching all the rest of us how to get where you are…unfortunately, your credibility will seriously be in question throughout that teaching career, because...

 

FEAR has touched and is a familiar part of everyone’s lives.

 

We get anxious (fearful) when things are late, unexpected, or just don’t go the way we think they should or want them to (and a host of other relative things).  During those times, one can easily assume they are “locked in” to such circumstances.

 

We become frightened (fearful) when humiliated, intimidated, or threatened (and a host of other relative things).  In those situations, one can easily determine they might be “locked in” to areas of potential harm.       

 

We feel helpless (fearful) when we come face to face with our inabilities and limitations, especially during times when we believe those abilities and the like (i.e. “just us”) are completely sufficient.  During those times, one can easily feel they are “locked in” to abject hopelessness.

 

I’ll address terror from a personal standpoint:  I grew up in a bad neighborhood in Washington, D.C.  Since I’m closing in on fifty, I can tell you just as easily as you can believe, that my old neighborhood wasn’t as bad a neighborhood as many inner-city neighborhoods are today.  Nevertheless, from living there, I learned at a young age what it meant to be terrified.  People were abused, beaten up, robbed, shot, and stabbed.  After hearing what had happened to others, and being “jumped” and threatened with harm myself, there were many days when I was terrified just to walk through my neighborhood streets.  My family later moved to a neighborhood in Landover, Maryland, which had similar characteristics with the previous one.

 

After graduating High School, I determined to leave the “old neighborhood.”  By the grace and help of God, I did just that.

 

Now, periodically, I drive through my old neighborhoods.  When I do that, I get a sense of familiarity there that is akin to a sense of familiarity we all have with various forms of fear. 

 

Gratefully, I’ve come to know that when I place my trust, my complete faith and reliance in God; fear is unable to co-exist in any area of my life (1 John 4:18).

 

I never really have a reason to visit those old neighborhoods; there’s no nostalgia involved and there’s no one remaining there from those former days that I’m purposing to visit.  In like manner, I never really have a reason to embrace the familiarity of fear (anxiety, fright, helplessness, terror, etc.), because for me, that fear is an “old neighborhood” I never have a need to go back to. 

 

I now have a Savior who is bigger and greater than any type of fear imaginable, and His “neighborhood” (Psalm 16:11) is way brighter than all of my old ones.

 

In the coming weeks, I desire to write about the Person of that Savior.

 

He is Christ, the Lord.

 

Copyright © Paul Schneidmill