How to Kiss Joy not Fear

Kiss the joy


“He who bends to himself a joy

Doth the winged life destroy,

But he who kisses the joy as it flies

Lives in Eternity’s sunrise”

William Blake as quoted by Anne Morrow Lindbergh




Last week I wrote about clinging to the rock like a starfish. (Read the post here.)

This week I am thinking about the opposite lesson, not clinging to the wrong thing. Clinging. The very word sounds fearful, like hanging on for dear life.

As a little girl I was prone to fear. I often padded into my parents’ bedroom in the dark of night sobbing in terror at a nightmare. They started giving me “happy thoughts” as they turned on a nightlight, tucked the covers under my chin and kissed me good night. They’d direct my thoughts to the fun we’d had letting our Shetland pony pull us up the dirt road in a cart, or playing barefoot in the sunshine. Often the last “happy thought” was that God loved me, and they did too. Their love and God’s helped me loosen my grip on my terrors.

I am older now, but I never outgrew nightmares completely, and I never outgrew fear either.

I’d like to think that I have no responsibility in this, but throughout the Bible “Do not fear” is issued as a command. Not a “there, there dear ‘don’t be afraid’” kind of comforting command. It is often issued by enormous supernatural beings holding deadly weapons. We must be capable of following the command, which leads me to believe that we humans, for some inexplicable reason, actually choose to fear.

Most of my worries have to do with relationships. My adult nightmares, tend to be about futility. I am trying to do something/ go somewhere/ finish something. I do something foolish, lose the crucial piece, and spend the rest of the nightmare looking for it. I am always frantic in these dreams, not because whatever I am trying to accomplish is so important, but because if I don’t accomplish it someone I care about will be disappointed in me.

I really can’t imagine why I fear disappointing people, even in my waking moments. Do I fear that if I disappoint I will lose their love? Since long before my first breath I have been loved. So have you, no matter what kind of nurturing you received growing up, no matter whether you are married or single. God loves us perfectly. Some people love us faithfully. Others reject, or distance themselves and these prompt fear and its equally destructive companion, anger.

“There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear.” 1 John 4:18


It seems a bit ironic that the perfect love is the antidote to fear. Usually my fears are prompted by fear of rejection by people I love. The key, I think, is that the fearful kind of love, though genuine, is imperfect.

I think Anne Lindbergh touched this truth.

"Fear destroys 'the winged life'"

“Fear destroys ‘the winged life.’ But how to exorcise it? It can only be exorcised by its opposite, love. When the heart is flooded with love there is no room in it for fear, for doubt, for hesitation. And it is this lack of fear that makes for the dance. When each partner loves so completely that he has forgotten to ask himself whether or not he is loved in return; when he only knows that he loves and is moving to its music—then, and then only, are two people able to dance perfectly in tune to the same rhythm.” Anne Morrow Lindbergh


God’s love is so perfect that it can make us careless. We can care less. We can love, drawing life and joy from that root of God’s love and loosen our grip on the need to be loved. This then, being “rooted and grounded in love” as Ephesians 2:10 says, is the way to grow into perfect love, to learn to kiss the joys instead of bending them and breaking their wings.

These thoughts were prompted by Gift from the Sea Chapter 6: Argonauta

For another blog post inspired in part by this same chapter in Gift from the Sea click here.

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One Response to How to Kiss Joy not Fear

  1. Merrie Lea August 16, 2014 at 7:44 am #

    You have encouraged me today.

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