Refuse to Live in Fear

Healthy fear serves a purpose but irrational fear steals your life.

Unfortunately, I lived for several years of my life in fear of “what if” simply because I had experienced scary, painful, and unexpected circumstances.

My traumatized emotions couldn’t think rationally and I unknowingly tried to control the “outcome” of things which I NEVER had control of; I was simply a prisoner of my own making and it had negative effects on the ones I loved most. All that to say, read this very good reminder to humanity written 72 years ago, I just replaced “atomic-bomb” with “coronavirus.”

“In one way we think a great deal too much of the [coronavirus]. “How are we to live in an [coronavirus] age?” I am tempted to reply: “Why, as you would have lived in the sixteenth century when the plague visited London almost every year, or as you would have lived in a Viking age when raiders from Scandinavia might land and cut your throat any night; or indeed, as you are already living in an age of cancer, an age of syphilis, an age of paralysis, an age of air raids, an age of railway accidents, an age of motor accidents.”

In other words, do not let us begin by exaggerating the novelty of our situation. Believe me, dear sir or madam, you and all whom you love were already sentenced to death before the [coronavirus] was invented: and quite a high percentage of us were going to die in unpleasant ways. We had, indeed, one very great advantage over our ancestors—anesthetics; but we have that still. It is perfectly ridiculous to go about whimpering and drawing long faces because the scientists have added one more chance of painful and premature death to a world, which already bristled with such chances and in which death itself was not a chance at all, but a certainty.

This is the first point to be made: and the first action to be taken is to pull ourselves together. If we are all going to be destroyed by an [coronavirus], let the [coronavirus] when it comes, find us doing sensible and human things—praying, working, teaching, reading, listening to music, bathing the children, playing tennis, chatting to our friends over a pint and a game of darts—not huddled together like frightened sheep and thinking about [coronavirus]. They may break our bodies but they need not dominate our minds.

— “On Living in an Atomic Age” (1948) in Present Concerns: Journalistic Essays, CS Lewis

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