The Twelve Messages of Christmas
Some months ago, I was watching the Tom Hanks movie, Bridge of Spies. One of the main characters finds himself having been discovered as a foreign spy on American soil. As his trial moves forward, knowing that he is facing possible death, Hanks character ask him, “are you worried?” To which he replies, “would it help?” Over and over throughout the film when asked if he is afraid, distressed, or concerned, he replies with the same question, “would it help?”.
As I began the 12 Messages of Christmas, I was considering “ah-ha” moments throughout the year, the moments when a phrase or a question or a word, had pierced through the shell of my everyday and penetrated the depths of my spirit. Hearing those words, “would it help?” was one of those moments for me.
Looking at my life, I can see where I have been afraid and even terrified for much of my time on this earth. At a very young age, it was the green shag carpet in my bedroom, which magically turned into alligators every night, that scared me. Through my teenage and young adult years there were the normal relationship (will I be loved fears), that due to painful life circumstances were grossly disproportional to their rightful size. I have had fears, which if I were to write them all down, might actual frighten you, the reader, as to the soundness of my personhood. So, let us just say, I have been afraid, very very shut a person down kind of afraid.
Living with that sort of fear, you can imagine the links to which I have gone, in order to overcome such fear. Extensive links. At the end of the day, what I have learned about fear, anxiety, worry, – whatever you want to call it- it never never never HELPS. Nor does it change one thing about the outcome of a situation. Hearing the words “would it help?”, I realized, this was a question I should have been asking long long ago. What exactly did I think all those years of worry would accomplish?
The answer to that question, lies in the context of an unfinished book, which I’m working on (slowly). However, I thought as we move into this season, with all of its loveliness and familiness and all that creeps into our minds about how it may or may not work out, it might serve us all to ask the question, “would it help?” Whatever you are considering letting your mind worry over, your spirit panic over, your soul terrify over, ask yourself what good all that is going to do. Imagine what it might be like, if you could become like the character in Bridge of Spies, facing your days, as they are, knowing that fear will not help at all and therefore choosing to enjoy the moment you are in at the very moment you are in it.
Sending you love wherever you are in the world.