What are you most afraid of? Some people are afraid of spiders; some people are afraid of the dark. When I was little, my brother and I would run upstairs from the basement for fear that someone was chasing us. No one was ever chasing us, but we were convinced someone was down there with us. When sons #1 and 2 would want to torture son #3, they would turn the lights off while leaving him alone in the playroom. This never ended well.
After our neighbor’s house exploded, we kept the shades closed facing the property so we wouldn’t have to relive those fears every day. That was a real fear. Someone we knew and lived next door to for over 10 years had died in that explosion. We were witness to the devastation. So, for a while we would have bad dreams, and when we would see the PSE&G truck that said “worry free” on the side, we would laugh and say, “Worry free? How about not.” So with some time and much conversation, we got through those fears. The adults did, the kids took a little bit longer because they needed concrete evidence that things like that don’t happen often. But it was scary and very real. And taught a life lesson that sometimes bad things do happen to good people for no reason at all.
So when we heard the news about the horrible attacks in France, we could only imagine how scared all of those people were. The people who got dressed up to go out on a Friday night in one of the most beautiful cities in the world, not knowing that they would never return home again. They have the pictures of the faces of all those who were murdered. College kids and older folks, people just like anyone you or I would know. Because the biggest fear about everything that is going on is that it is an unknown. That is how the terrorists like it. Am I going to a Billy Joel concert with my sister and then I am going to get shot by some crazy person? Am I afraid of that? Or, am I more scared that I will get shot by some crazy person and then someone is going to go through all of my personal belongings and my journals and find out what I have been thinking about people for all of these years. Because once you are dead, you are dead. But your stuff still remains. And your family remains and then they are sad, unless, of course, your family doesn’t like you and then they throw a party. But seriously, if the point of these terrorists is to scare us, or more specifically, to scare me, it does; I know that I am going to die the way God wants me to, and I have no idea how that is; hit by a truck, poisoned by husband #1... The possibilities are endless, but we cannot be afraid to leave our homes and go spend the day in the city because whatever is going to happen is going to happen and there isn’t anything I can do about it. And being scared in front of your kids only makes them scared and that is just no fun at all.
I think of Israel and how they must feel every single day. I have always said that I cannot really comment on what they go through for several reasons. The first being I haven’t even been to Israel in over 12 years, so who am I to be all “I know what they are going though.” I have no idea. But I do know that unless they put it in the back of their minds and live their lives just as they want, they would probably go just a little bit nuts. Denial is a powerful emotion, one that keeps us from staying in bed all day with the shades closed and the lights off.
There are so many bad things that can happen. Every single day we put ourselves out there and just pray that our families and our friends will be safe; sometimes that works and sometimes that doesn’t work. Watching the news these past few days has not been so helpful. Obama seems to have a serious case of denial, but I didn’t vote for him so even though it is my problem, it really isn’t. I just keep one foot in front of the other, tell my kids that I love them every single day, even if it annoys the bejabbers out of them, and hope that God is watching over all of us and protecting us from the incredible evil that is all around us. May the people protecting us know what they are doing and may God watch over all of us and keep us safe here, in Israel and wherever else we may be.
Banji Ganchrow is not afraid of spiders, or camel crickets for that matter, as she is the only one in the house who is in charge of pest control.
By Banji Latkin Ganchrow