I am afraid of clowns. For real. They scare the literal pee out of me. My actual friends and family no longer taunt me about this and they recognize it as an actual thing – so no joke clowns in my car or on my desk or randomly on my social media pages. I avoid the circus and other clown-y events, and certainly hold my breath at Halloween parties. Typing the word clown gives me goosebumps. In college, I told my roommates about this and no one believed me until we walked into the cafeteria one day to find a clown standing there for some random celebration with balloons and I froze, my chest tightened, and then I hyperventilated. Good thing one of my roomies was a nursing student. Embarrassment aside, I survived. I was afraid.
I’ve experienced this emotion before and I often find it difficult to push through. Shortly after John Karl died I often felt afraid that something terrible would happen to my husband or one of the girls, when I was pregnant I was afraid of something happening to Koen or to me. The emotion is still just a real and sometimes just as awful.
I think sometimes people interchange “fear” and “afraid” and though they’re synonyms, to me they aren’t always interchangeable. I like to think of fear in a biblical context – where it often means reverence or respect.
He will bless those who fear the LORD, The small together with the great.
The Psalmist didn’t mean we should feel afraid of the Lord like I feel afraid of a clown! Like, avoid this creature at all cost even if it means never ever taking your kids to the circus. (I’m fine with this, by the way, it’s what grandparents are for.) The writer mean fear the Lord in a way that shows respect and reverence.
Lately, amidst all the political drama and discussion I wonder if we know what any of those words mean anymore and I am afraid that we’ve moved so far passed this notion of respect and reverence that we no longer fear anything or anyone.
I’m just gonna sit here hiding from the clowns and pray Psalm 23 – I will fear no evil [clowns or otherwise], for thou are with me. What kind of nonsense are you afraid of that we can cover with the blanket from Psalm 23?