What is fear? What are the roots of fear? Is all fear ultimately fear of the ‘other’? Is God included in the ‘other’? Should we ever fear God except in the sense of respect? Is it ever possible to be free of fear?



Dear little Johnnie is just three years old.

He sees and feels much, but is too young

To make sense of the why and wherefore.

This day, his favourite toy is taken from him,

By a bunch of bigger boys and smashed.

He learns fear – sweet innocence no more.


The child’s bright face begins to darken;

That open smile is flecked by frowns;

Spontaneity replaced by hesitation…

As his circle of activity grows wider,

His mother’s love’s not always there:

Excitement harbours consternation.


The big world is peopled with: people.

The caring parent says to their child:

Don’t talk to strangers! Stay close by!

Beware the bogey-man! And for sure,

We adults know the horror stories…

How to safeguard and yet not stultify?


Behold the depths of the human psyche:

Why some grow up happy-go-lucky;

Others withdraw into sombre solitary?

Twins exposed to the same upbringing,

Can be poles apart in temperament:

Things not explained by hereditary.


One little Johnnie learns to be funny:

Crack jokes and you won’t be bullied;

Always a place for the joker in the pack.

Another little Johnnie grows up tough:

Dog eat dog, so work on your bite –

The best form of defence is attack.


Is it that the most anti-social folk

Are also the most deeply fearful?

Deprived from their earliest years

Of fear’s antidote – affirming love?

Their pugnacious stance only a

Desperate ruse to hide their tears?


Who among us is untouched by fear?

Why are some crippled by its effects?

While others seemingly breathe free?

If human love is always conditional,

And affirmation inevitably coloured,

Are we fear-jacketed till eternity?


“Do not fear, for I have redeemed you!”

Eye has not seen, nor ear heard, nor

Human heart felt that beatific thrill;

That blessed realm where the ‘other’

Is transfigured too, and relationships

Unstained by sin, liberate and fulfil.


Love casts out fear, and hope uplifts:

Our true treasure stored beyond loss,

We can plunge into life’s ebb and flow!

Believer, grasp the power of your faith,

Walk on life’s swell and reach out to Him

Who calls you and will never let you go.