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Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Thunder, Lightning, and Fear

This morning we're experiencing one of Tampa Bay's famous thunderstorms and understanding exactly why this area is called the "Lightning Capital of the World."

Our dog Wilson is especially affected by the thunder and lightning.  Even his calming herb-filled bandana doesn't work.  Normally he is a mild mannered, easy going dog who responds well to basic commands like "sit" and "down."  Watching and interacting with with him is a lesson in fear.  His whole body trembles, his heart races, he pants and paces.  He does things he normally would not do, like trying to climb furniture that is not "his."  He even climbs on us and can't seem to get close enough.  Of course, we are sympathetic and compassionate and try to console him but it seems to no avail. His fear is really uncontrollable.

This makes me wonder, and in some ways explains, how people act in ways and do things we sometimes do when we are afraid.  It is also an insight into how fear is usually at the core of most human irrational action.

Just like Wilson, at our core, we humans are really good people. Our basic nature is to cooperate and get along with one another.  However, the slightest fear can build into harmful thoughts, feelings, and actions of which we never dreamt we were capable. Fear literally changes our physiology as adrenalin and other enzymes pump through our brains and bodies. And, we end up doing and saying crazy, harmful things.      

Perhaps when we get the latest news filled with irrational human behavior like wars, border closings, shootings, surreal political discourse and find ourselves asking, "How can anyone do or think such things?" what we really need to ask is "What are we afraid of?"

Oh well, since it's supposed to storm sporadically all day, it looks like I'll be off soon to the pet store to get and try a "thunder shirt."   I wonder if perhaps the human equivalent of a thunder shirt may be a big hug!  And better still, knowing and resting in God's love and Eternal Presence.

1 comment:

  1. I don't think there's any doubt that strong emotions, fear, anger, jealousy, cause actual physiological changes in our bodies. I believe that some people those changes get so drastic that they're taken to another place of complete irrationality.