Fear is in the driver’s seat of this car

I was pondering the concept of humility today because I read a blatant example of the absence of such; I admit, humility is a rare quality. I immediately began to formulate a response to this stealing of credit for something this writer had nothing to do with. If anything, like most goofs, his involvement had the opposite effect; negative, harmful and, most assuredly, an annoyance.

I ran through the scenarios in my mind and had quickly set on a couple of good ones. But then I realized, I was practicing the same exercise. Yes, the comeback or statement that cut’s a person to the quick is fun. Sometimes worthwhile. Most often not, but sometimes.

One of the one’s I came up with for this particular goof was that those around him were loyal as the day is long. “Short day, wasn’t it?” I stole that from a Marx Brothers’ routine.

One of the best, of course, is Sir Winston Churchill’s retort to a woman who was complaining one evening about his drunkenness and he replied something to the effect that in the morning “I will be sober, but Madam, you, will still be ugly.” God, there are some great ones.

The best answer to the egotist is to allow life the opportunity to intercede. It always does  such a better job than those of us who may possess a quick wit and the heartless attribute to use it.

But life is the best teacher. Always has been. Always will be. Life takes us on our own specific journey to teach us humility. For it is humility where the true gift of life is found.

My desire to put forth the comeback, to shout the loudest or say the meanest of all things cloaked in humor is always driven by fear.

I’ve spent most of life afraid. Afraid of the dark, Afraid of the light. Afraid of being alone or afraid of not being alone. On and on and on. It always comes back to fear. It is the person who doesn’t need to shout defiance that usually is the strongest. It is the person who  doesn’t need to cut you to the quick, who usually is the most secure.

Humility is the absence of fear. Many say that faith is the absence of fear. I disagree. May partially be true.  But I do know that humility, in point of fact, is the absence of fear. When I practice it, which is so rare for me – like making a three-point basket –  it feels peaceful. It calms. It takes away the need to act strong. It takes away the need.

An author of some renown by the name of Hermann Hesse once wrote a book, “Siddhartha.” In that book, Hesse lays out the meaning of life: “Learn to live without anything and you will be able to live with anything.”

I’ve always liked this one: “Here’s to me and here’s to you; if ever we should disagree, to hell with you and here’s to me.” My wife taught me that. As of Monday, August 29, 2011, we will have been married for 25 years.

As I said in the headline, fear is in the driver’s seat of this car.




About stevewhitmore

Former award-winning newspaperman and broadcast journalist, both radio and TV, spanning three decades. Army-trained paralegal, court bailiff and prosecutor's lead investigator for the 8th Infantry Division's Judge Advocate General's Corp., Mainz, Germany. 1973-1975.
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