When my friends asked, I replied I would not write about fear. I have always argued that this blog would be about the beauty of this world. Yet, there come times as this one, when people are exhausted by the continuous attacks of fear. So, I decided to address this topic, from my personal point of view in which love conquers fear, and I will do it for my friends and for the people that I love. For all those who still have dreams, for all those who have plans for the future, for all those who are feeling creative, for all those who want to live their lives in peace.
Fear has overwhelmed our daily lives in the relentlessly tortured and continuously attacked Greece. The media and political developments keep poisoning people’s hearts and minds. The people have frozen in face of the fear of all the possible upcoming disasters that may fall upon us. Life has clicked the pause button.
Yet, fear itself is much worse than any actual disaster. People are equipped with mechanisms to deal with any misfortunes. Any real misfortunes, though, once they’ve actually happened. We can all admit that any hardship we’ve ever had to face, no matter how unpleasant, it was never bigger than us. It was never as difficult as the fear of it. Fear is a ghost that haunts us and plays nasty games with our minds. It feeds on our soul. Even with a little knowledge of psychology and biology one is aware of the devastating results of fear. It blocks our mind, it closes our heart, it affects the correct function of the brain, it leads to mistaken decisions and, if prolonged, to illness.
But fear is not real and it can be defeated. With love. As the well known saying goes:
Fear knocked on the door. Love answered, and there was no one there.
There have been countless books, texts, articles written on love, countless talks, discussions and debates that have taken place. All in an effort to reveal what this “love thing” is after all. In the western culture we have been taught that love is just a romantic notion, to be left to teenagers and Hollywood movies. But no matter how much we read about it, love is not something we learn from a book. It’s something we experience and then by our example we teach to others.
Love has a magical effect; it opens us up. It opens our heart, our brain functions better, and so does our body. Love is the exact opposite of fear and it can heal.
It is love when a friend stays by your side through a difficult time. It is love when one can only withdraw 50 euro per day from the bank, and still lend 32 euro to the neighbor that needs to buy medicines. It is love when we stop and listen to what the person next to us has to say. It is love when we care. It is love when we respect.
With love we stick together and support one another. With love we have power. When we feel love for those around us there is no room for fear. A person cannot feel love and fear at the same time.
Things are changing in Greece, said my friend who lives in London and visits once a year. People are opening up to people, are being more caring and supportive of others. I’m really glad to hear this. I suppose that this is what we could call one of the positive outcomes of this economic crisis that has devastated our country. It’s time to make the best of this situation and come out of it improved, more loving and more creative. It’s a good opportunity to bring out the best in us. For the benefit of us all.
Love heals. Let the healing begin.
I would like to close this article with St. Paul’s hymn of love, in his first letter to the Corinthians.
If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels,
but have not love,
I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal.
And if I have prophetic powers,
and understand all mysteries and all knowledge,
and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains,
but have not love,
I am nothing.
If I give away all I have,
and if I deliver my body to be burned,
but have not love,
I gain nothing.
Love is patient and kind;
love is not jealous or boastful;
it is not arrogant or rude.
Love does not insist on its own way;
it is not irritable or resentful;
it does not rejoice at wrong, but rejoices in the right.
Love bears all things,
believes all things,
hopes all things,
endures all things.
Love never ends;
Αs for prophecies, they will pass away; as for tongues, they will cease;
as for knowledge, it will pass away.
For our knowledge is imperfect and our prophecy is imperfect;
but when the perfect comes, the imperfect will pass away.
When I was a child, I spoke like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child;
when I became a man, I gave up childish ways.
For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face.
Now I know in part; then I shall understand fully even as I have been fully understood.
So faith, hope, love abide, these three;
but the greatest of these is love.
In Greek, for my Greek friends:
Εάν ταις γλώσσαις των ανθρώπων λαλώ και των αγγέλων, αγάπην δε μη έχω, γέγονα χαλκός ηχών ή κύμβαλον αλαλάζον.
Και εάν έχω προφητείαν και ειδώ τα μυστήρια πάντα και πάσαν την γνώσιν, και εάν έχω πάσαν την πίστιν, ώστε όρη μεθιστάνειν, αγάπην δε μη έχω, ουδέν ειμί.
Και εάν ψωμίσω πάντα τα υπάρχοντα μου, και εάν παραδώ το σώμα μου ίνα καυθήσομαι, αγάπην δε μη έχω, ουδέν ωφελούμαι.
Η αγάπη μακροθυμεί, χρηστεύεται, η αγάπη ου ζηλοί, η αγάπη ου περπερεύεται, ου φυσιούται, ουκ ασχημονεί, ου ζητεί τα εαυτής, ου παροξύνεται, ου λογίζεται το κακόν, ου χαίρει επί τη αδικία, συγχαίρει δε τη αληθεία, πάντα στέγει, πάντα πιστεύει, πάντα ελπίζει, πάντα υπομένει.
Η αγάπη ουδέποτε εκπίπτει.
Είτε δε προφητείαι καταργηθήσονται, είτε γλώσσαι παύσονται, είτε γνώσις καταργηθήσεται.
Εκ μέρους δε γινώσκομεν και εκ μέρους προφητεύομεν όταν δε έλθη το τέλειον, τότε το εκ μέρους καταργηθήσεται. Ότε ήμην νήπιος, ως νήπιος έλάλουν, ως νήπιος εφρόνουν, ως νήπιος ελογιζόμην ότε δε γέγονα ανήρ, κατήργηκα τα του νηπίου.
Βλέπομεν γαρ άρτι δι’ εσόπτρου εν αινίγματι, τότε δε πρόσωπον προς πρόσωπον άρτι γινώσκω εκ μέρους, τότε δε επιγνώσομαι καθώς και επεγνώσθην.
Νυνί δε μένει πίστις, έλπίς, αγάπη, τα τρία ταύτα μείζων δε τούτων η αγάπη.
by Melina Stefanidou