I had a scary dream last night in which the communists were in an adjoining room…to my left (symbolizing the unconsciousness). I was horrified that they had “infiltrated” and aroused “penetration phobia” that was so frightening that I cried out in my sleep and my wife had to rouse me. This is clearly a dream that draws on fears from my early youth when the Communist menace was the “fear de jour” in my American culture. I listened to horrifying sermons lamenting the “Communist menace” and warnings that even a next door neighbor might be part of a “sleeper cell.” And, yes, this fear was augmented by warnings that those “damn liberals” (‘dang liberals’, back then) were seeking to destroy our faith and facilitate the onslaught of “Godless communism.”
This culture of fear shaped my life and this dream reflects that the fear core in my heart has not yet by been eased by the promise of Jesus that “perfect love casteth out fear.” Fear is an elemental dimension of life, an expression of our realization on some primitive level of just our vulnerable we are. But instead recognizing and confronting the fear-base that drives us it is so much easier to see the embodiment of our fear “out there” in some person or group of persons. This blindness to our unconsciousness succeeds in helping us avoid our fears but the price tag is that our judgment is horribly impaired. Oh, sure, Communism was antithetical to our American way of life but now in hindsight historians tell us that the “threat” was gravely exaggerated, costing billions of dollars and untold loss of life.
So, what am I afraid of? I don’t know for sure what it is but it will be some expression of vulnerability…perhaps even the grim reaper himself! But if I keep listening to my dreams, having curiosity about life, and paying attention I will eventually have some inkling of what it is. And whatever “it” is, once resolved there will be another fear to take its place which will tyrannize me less as I continue to discover that these fears are alleviated when I have the courage to face them boldly.