Finding Peace in the Midst of Fear

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I must not fear. Fear is the mind-killer. Fear is the little death that brings total obliteration. I will face my fear. I will permit it to pass over me and through me. And when it has gone past I will turn the inner eye to see its path. Where the fear has gone there will be nothing. Only I will remain. — Frank Hubert

How can one be at peace and fearful at the same time? It’s an interesting dynamic of feelings some would argue is strange but somehow for me it was calming and exhilarating. Over the weekend I visited Charleston, South Carolina for the first time—a place which is extremely rich in history both good and bad. Prior to visiting Magnolia Plantation where these photos were taken, I visited Emanuel AME Church in the city where recently 9 innocent souls were murdered for the color of their skin…the same color as mine.

My trip to Charleston was planned before the massacre at Emanuel AME Church. Naturally this event was in the back of my mind and triggered other thoughts like, “What if this happens again while I’m there?” or “What if there are other people like that guy who treats my friends and me poorly or even worse?”. I prayed on it and decided, as I always try to decide, that I can’t live my life in fear of the “what if’s” and that if something bad were to happen, it would be okay. I didn’t think it was fair to myself, my friends, the good people in Charleston and especially the victims of Emanuel AME, who obviously loved their church and this city, to cast this place into a dark shadow of shame. I did not want to let fear or the acts of a terrorist deter me from what otherwise seemed to be a wonderful place with beautiful people.

As a Black female living on a plantation for a weekend it behooved me to acknowledge all aspects of the history engrained in the land. Walking the grounds I thought about where I am now, how I live my life and the stark contrast to what it would have been like if I were born at a different time, sooner, during slavery. I couldn’t image what it was like and how devastatingly painful it would have been. Traumatic even. Mix these thoughts with recent events and a few glares of disgust from a couple at breakfast that my friend and I dared to be on the same property as them and you’d think I’d be ready to leave. But from these thoughts, although sadness and frustration did ensue, was more a feeling of peace, humility and awe. I felt sad for the couple who refused to return a “Good Morning” or smile back when I sat down at breakfast but their ignorance was overshadowed by the other wonderful families, staff and relaxing sounds and beauty of nature I encountered. The property was absolutely gorgeous and everyone else, especially our waitress each morning Ms. Orcelia, was so kind and had calming energies. There was no other choice but to focus on the positive and although fear was in the back of my mind, I was overwhelmed with calmness and peace that God’s creations, people and nature, can be so beautiful and kind. This doesn’t negate the bad things that have and are yet to happen but the sensation of tranquility and power of God’s love and masterpieces were too huge to ignore.

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I encourage you to face your fears head on everyday –I promise you it’s worth it!