Growing up in Metro Atlanta, I loved reading our hometown newspaper, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. I still do. Just this morning, I was reading the paper online when I came across an article entitled, “CDC cancels next month’s ‘climate and health’ summit in Atlanta.” Reading further, I realized that the Center for Disease Control was planning on holding a gathering to discuss how climate change destroys our health. The only problem is that the event was quietly canceled. When I read even further down, I found out that the gathering was canceled right after Donald Trump was elected president. Research papers had already been gathered and speakers were secured…but the event was still canceled. The most important department in our nation for disease control and prevention is scared to do its work. This fearful department is not alone.
Throughout the entirety of our nation, people are afraid. Immigrants feel like they could be deported at any minute. Many Muslims believe that a registry is coming at any moment. Women know their rights are up for grabs. Black folk seem destined for even further abuse. I could go on and on. Right now, the fear in America is endless. Bright minds are not producing. Talented people are staying at home. People simply can’t be the amazing people that they are. While there is great reason to be afraid, we can’t be.
Some people believe the story is bullshit. I don’t. There is magic in believing in something greater than our fear. Late one night, there was a bunch of folks in a boat. Until a huge storm blew up, everything was great. The winds and waves raged. Then, the folks saw a man walking on the water. I don’t know whether the storm or the water walker scared them more. In the midst of it all, Jesus spoke up and said, “Do not be afraid.” Immediately, the storm stopped. Everyone regained peace of mind. I’ve always wondered whether the storm actually stopped. When you have peace, it doesn’t matter where you are. Maybe the storm still raged and they had so much peace that they didn’t even notice. I don’t think our time is all that different from theirs. The storms are raging. Even if the voice we hear is our own, we have to learn to hear, “Do not be afraid.” No matter how big it gets, let us make enough peace to banish the storm.