My own life followed what I assume to be the usual course, though in saying this, I am anxious not to give an exaggerated impression. It was the usual course, not an unusual one. “There’s always something” came to be a common mental phrase, and the something was, as a rule, not cheering. Neither, as a rule, was it terrible. It was just something—a sense of the carking hanging over life, now and then turning to a real mischance or a heartache.
It strikes me as strange, on looking back, that so little attempt was made to combat fear by religion. As far as I know, little attempt was made to combat fear in any way. One’s attention was not called to it otherwise than as a wholly inevitable state. You were born subject to fear as you were born subject to death, and that was the end of it.
Brought up in an atmosphere in which religion was our main preoccupation, I cannot recall ever hearing it appealed to as a counteragent to this most persistent enemy of man. In dealing with your daily dreads you simply counted God out. Either He had nothing to do with them or He brought them upon you. In any case, His intervention on your behalf was not supposed to be in this world, and to look for rewards from Him, here and now was considered a form of impiety. You were to be willing to serve God for naught; after which unexpected favours might be accorded you, but you were to hope for nothing as a right. I do not say that this is what I was taught; it was what I understood, but to the best of my memory, it was the general understanding round about me. In my fight against fear, in as far as I made one, God was for many years of no help to me, or of no help of which I was aware. I shall return to the point later in telling how I came to “discover God” for myself, but not quite the same God, or not quite the same concept of God, which my youthful mind had supposed to be the only one.
PHOTO CREDIT : JAMES COLEMAN
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