LOST (and found): Fear

What do Jonah and Kate have in common?  A desire to run.

Sewing my own drapes is nothing like stitching up your back, tyvm.
In The Pilot, Part 1, we are introduced to most of the main characters that we know and love from the hit show, LOST.  Perhaps the most prevalent emotion right from the get-go is fear.  People are running around all over the place after the airplane crash, things blowing up, pregnant ladies almost birthing, and all kinds of uncertainties that pull you in.  We are even introduced to the Smoke Monster. (Oh hey, disclaimer - there will be spoilers)

There is one scene that resonates with me.  Jack - no, not me, that Jack - finds a secluded part of the beach after the harrowing attempts to save lives and avoid more disaster.  He pulls his shirt off to find his side cut up and out of the woods pops Kate.  Good ole Kate, rubbing her wrists from the handcuffs she only recently removed.  Jack asks Kate to sew him up, and she objects, afraid that she can't do it and will throw up and all that.

What follows applies to life and is worth discussing.  Jack and Kate talk about fear and how to respond to it.  Kate, of course, shares her desire to run.*  Jack calms her by talking about a nearly-botched surgical procedure where he talks about a bunch of nerves being like angel-hair pasta.  Yum!

Jack's trick for dealing with fear is to "let the fear take over, but only for five seconds."  After that, supposedly, Jack can get on with life and do what he needs to do.  Worked for Jack at the surgery - he cleans the patient up and succeeds.

Later in the episode, Kate is hiding in the woods from God-knows-what (smoke monster) and, in a fit of abject horror, starts counting to five and then strides back to find her lost companions.

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Fear is one of those things we all deal with, yes?  I preached this past week on Matthew 14:22-33 where Peter, overcome by fear and doubt, takes his eyes off Jesus and starts sinking into the Sea of Galilee (oh snap!  He was walking on water!).

The Dow is falling, the sky is falling, the world is falling apart.  Wars, earthquakes, floods, riots.  We have so much to be afraid of.  And fear is a big problem because it often keeps us from doing what we need to do.  In Kate's case, her inability to confront her fear leads to all kinds of problems.  I mean, it is serious.  She loses friends, folks die, and generally, her fear destroys any hope of a normal life.

Jack's response to fear - to deal with it - is much healthier, even if somewhat impractical.  Five seconds isn't long enough for your heart rate to slow down, much less have a plan on how to move forward in a meaningful way.

As a Christian, I recognize Jesus often reminds me to not fear, worry, or doubt.  But have you ever noticed that Jesus doesn't say, "you shouldn't be afraid" but instead, "don't be afraid."  I may be splitting hairs, but this to me is really important: Jesus acknowledges the fear.  And his response is not, "Hey!  Don't do that!  Doubter!" or to pep-talk me into thinking I can do it.  His response is to re-adjust my attention onto Him.  The fear is there - admit it.  Move on.

Five seconds is long enough to recognize a face.  Five seconds is enough to remember that God is still God.  Five seconds is enough to take a breath, focus on Jesus, and step out into whatever future God has for us.  Even when there is a smoke monster waiting for us.

* - Of course, we know Kate loves to run.  That is the whole point of this early character identification.  She spends all six seasons trying to run and struggling with fear.  It is telling that she stays at the end to deal with the final mess.  She has finally overcome her fear.

Does counting to five and "letting the fear in" work?  What do you think?