How To Navigate Uncertainty With Faith and Courage
By Monica Bennett
How do we find our way through this ever changing, warp speed, too much information, too many distractions and all the mixed messages we are receiving in the world? There seems to be so many things taking us off course. We seem more lost that ever before.
Addiction has become an epidemic in our youth. People diagnosed with type 2 diabetes is at an all time high. The number of mass shootings have escalated. Our food, water and air supply have been tainted. Depression, anxiety and stress are all too common. Cancer and new types of autoimmune diseases are occurring at an alarming pace. Our natural world is being stripped and pillaged every hour of every day to make room for more civilization.
As our home, plant earth, spins around on her orbit in space in perfect harmony with the universe, we are destroying the very thing that sustains our life.
We’ve made many detours on our journey that have taken us on this path of destruction. However, it is now time to awake to a new day and a new course to travel on.
In our personal life as well as the collective, we need to navigate the future with faith and courage at every turn if we are going to survive and thrive. We need to come together, and create solutions for the threats that we are facing. We must become greater than our present physical reality that we believe is set in stone. By cultivating thoughts that are uplifting and positive, that are expanding and joyful is how we begin to change directions and navigate a different path.
As humans the only two fears we are born with are the fear of loud noises and the fear of falling. All other fears are downloaded by the people who influenced us the most. Some people are afraid of old age, death, sickness, being alone, poverty or public speaking. I think I was afraid of them all. Fear can paralyze you! When I was in my teens and twenties I had to speak in public, OMG, my voice would crackle and my body would tremble. I was paranoid, insecure, lost and afraid of everything. I had little faith and even less courage.
I would take the path of least resistance. Over and over again, my stubborn ignorance would get me in to trouble. I would persist and try to navigate a path that lead to nowhere. I thought I knew the way without faith and courage but what you resist will persist until it doesn’t. Until I got down on my knees and asked for guidance from God did I surrender and get on a path that was the higher road.
The path of least resistance may seem like the smoother path, however it is deceiving. If you take what appears to be the easy road, and try to play it safe, the road quickly becomes a dead end with no road map to guide you. The path that appears more challenging which is paved with more bumps, detours and obstacles is the way out to freedom.
Until I faced my fears and really looked at all of them square in the face, I would wind up back in the ditch that lead me a stray. I needed to learn to navigate uncertainty with faith and courage. I needed to get on the yellow brick road and face all my demons. I needed to go through the dark night of the soul. How did I do this? Well it is a long story. You see my fears did stem from my parents. They were both holocaust survivors. They both had many fears that got infused into my being.
I can’t even imagine what their childhoods were like. My father had to see his father off on a train, no not any ordinary train, a cattle car, a filthy germ infested transport system packed with desperate, and frightened souls, being taken to concentration camps to be starved to death, experimented on or exterminated. That was the very last time my father saw his father. He was only a little boy when he had to witness him being taken from his father’s arms.
While bombs were destroying the city of Berlin, where he was living and Nazis were continuing to round up all the Jews, my father was lucky enough to escape and get on a boat to England. He was an only child and lived in orphanages and worked in factories during his time here. Even though it was definitely safer in England the sound of air raids continued and bombs were still being dropped. He survived through faith and courage.
My mom was born in Munich. Her mother was Catholic and father was Jewish. She witnessed the brutal forces of prejudges from the Nazis as well. Her father who was a chemist and loved to be around people had to go into hiding to escape the concentration camps, died of malnutrition and loneliness due to the fact that there was little food to be had and the fear of exposing his where abouts.
My mom had to hide every time the Gestapo would come around and check peoples papers to make sure there weren’t any Jews or any other people against the 3rd Reich that were still free.
My grandmother would tell me stories of how her neighbors would greet her by saying high Hitler (which was how people greeted each other during this time) and she would spit on the ground instead. Now she was a woman of faith and courage!
Her mother, my great grandmother was too! She hid many people, like strip teasers, carpenters and some Jews who were against the party. Yes it was fearful time for them.
My great Uncle was studying to become a doctor and had to go to the front line of the war to complete his thesis and was struck in the head with a shrapnel and was killed. When my Great Grandmother learned of the news, she died of a heart attack. It was devastating.
Munich was also being bombed and air raid attacks were an everyday occurrence. There are many other horrific stories that I won’t go into but as you can well imagine my parents certainly had their share of pain and suffering.
After the war ended and my parents immigrated to America, the land of the free and home of the brave. They began to start a new life. They had very little money, little luggage but lots of baggage. Psychological baggage that is.
My father changed his name to Thomas Bennett from Hans Gunther Israel, because he still felt the tugs of prejudges on this side of the Atlantic as well. My father got a job for TWA and began to travel the world, which was truly his passion and in which I inherited as well. From an early age I was fortunate to have seen and explored many places of the world that were not ventured to in the 1960’s.
I did not get along with my father as a youth. He was a stern, angry and cold man. Both my parents did not know how to express their emotions in a healthy way. I frequently saw the wrath of my father’s temper. The wounds of his childhood emotional turmoil was beginning to reveal itself and his fears were surfacing.
He was diagnosed with cancer when I was 15 years old and died 2 years later. This was I time when I totally lost my way. I had no direction, no path and no guidance. My mom was like a child herself and was completely absorbed in her own grieving process. Besides, my father took care of everything, and she had to learn to manage on her own for the first time in her life.
I found myself in a lot of dark alleys, dead ends, bad places.
Although, I was still resisting, I would always find a way out. As desperate as I was I was beginning to find my faith and courage. I started to take a different path. I was beginning to trust and navigate my way.
Although sometimes I would take 3 steps forward and 2 steps back, I was discovering my strengths and letting go of my fears. I felt like I was shedding a skin like a snake. I was on my way to the Emerald Castle to find my way home, but like Dorothy from the Wizard of Oz, I still had a ways to go. There were still many, many, many challenges before me, but somehow I knew that I would be able to navigate through them.
I now know how to find my way home and I know that with a heart, a brain, courage and faith I will always be able to navigate any uncertainly.
So if fear comes knocking at your door, don’t be afraid to answer it because with faith and courage, to open the door, there’s no one there.
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