I Believe

I Believe

In 1951, well known broadcast journalist and war correspondent, Edward Morrow, editorialised: “Around us all, now high like a distant thunderhead, now close upon us with the wet choking intimacy of a London fog, there is an enveloping cloud of fear. There is a physical fear, the kind that drives some of us to flee our homes and burrow into the ground in the bottom of a Montana valley like prairie dogs, to try to escape, if only for a little while, the sound and the fury of the A-bombs or the hell-bombs, or whatever may be coming.”

That was 73 years ago! And nothing seems to have changed. Fear is the driving force behind most people’s decisions, most communities’ decisions, most business’s decisions, and most governments’ decisions.  Was it always like that? Was the world always in a state of fear and trepidation?   

I don’t think so. Fortress fear mentality has become universalised. And I blame one factor, and one factor only: media. The economic pundits constantly predict doom and gloom – and the media seizes on it – fear drives ratings and profits. Wars are breaking out all around the globe. Right? Wrong. Of the 195 countries less than 5% are at war but media brings gory statistically manipulated figures and images into our living room and bedroom, on screens larger than life, producing troubled sleep – and more fear. Government leaders know full well that the best way to secure votes is to project frighteningly dystopian future-time scenarios – through press secretaries.

The atheist has no answer. The believer has no question. I am a believer. Security isn’t a human guarantee. It’s the Creator’s guarantee. But there is a quid pro quo: “Shalach et ami” – “Let my people go” isn’t enough. HaShem adds one more word to Moses’ script –  Veya’avduni: “so that they will do My work” – of making the world a beautiful garden, instead of an untamed jungle. Without a sense of purpose, a mission statement, and belief in cosmic design – then it’s each for himself. The antidote: belief and humility, in the place of fence-sitting agnosticism and doomsday scenarios.

It’s not Covid we should be fearful of. It’s fear itself. As the lyrics of the song tell it:
I believe, for every drop of rain that falls,
A flower grows…
I believe that somewhere in the darkest night,
A candle glows…
I believe, above the storm the smallest prayer,
Will still be heard…
I believe, that someone in the great somewhere,
Hears every word…