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2012-11-01 digital edition

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2012-11-01 / Church

THEY SAID IT

I’m Scared
(Life Lessons from Hospice Patients)

Franklin was a rough-and-tumble sort of guy. He was the quiet, silent type. He’d been an oilfield worker for decades. He was a tough dude in a tough world. Heart disease had confined Franklin to a recliner. He was on continuous oxygen. He was so weak that just changing positions took herculean effort. Each visit, Franklin would lean forward and shake my hand, then collapse backward, exhausted. It would be several minutes before he could speak.

One day he marshaled his strength and said simply, “I’m scared.”

Surprised, I replied, “Me too, Franklin. I’m scared of lots of things. What are you scared of?”

“Being trapped. Just fading away,” he gasped, laboring for breath.

“I’m scared of dying like my dad did, suddenly and painfully,” I said.

Franklin looked at me, his eyes searching mine.

“Fear is really ugly when I feel alone in it,” I said.

Franklin blinked, and slowly nodded his head.

The most frequent command in the Bible is, “Fear not!” That means we get afraid – a lot. The question is not whether we’re going to be afraid, but what we’ll do when terror grabs us.

I’ve learned this about myself: Fear escalates until I share it. Once I speak it, it begins to lose its power.

What if we dared to say, “I’m scared,” to someone we trust? What if they not only listened, but shared their fears as well?

Courageous sharing just might put terror on the run.

Thanks, Franklin, for your courage.

Gary Roe is the Chaplain of Southern Care Hospice and is Minister at First Baptist Church in Lexington

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