Recently I watched an older movie called “Defending Your Life” starring Meryl Streep and Albert Brooks. The movie was about two people who died and arrived in Judgment City, the place they go before advancing to another level or being sent back to earth for a do-over. While there, they stand trial by reviewing events in their lives where they had let their fears rule their decisions. Did they overcome their fears or did they let their fears overcome them?
I’ve read a lot of near death and afterlife books, and most, if not all, have said that people who have crossed over and come back to life have said that they had to watch a review of their lives. Many were asked if they had loved enough. After we make our transitions and it’s time for us to review everything we did or didn’t do in our lives, how would we feel? How did we treat others as well as ourselves?
This movie got me thinking about fear, particularly my own fears. Fear is a huge issue in all of our lives. Many people don’t live the lives they want or are meant to live because of it. We’re afraid to take chances and go for our dreams; therefore, we live our lives trying to please everyone around us. We’re afraid to stand up for ourselves because we’re afraid of what others might think; therefore, we let people walk all over us and treat us badly. We’re afraid of success and we’re afraid of failure. We’re afraid that nothing good will happen so we don’t even try. Fear can become all consuming.
People also use fear to manipulate and control us. They use it to propagate hate against others who may seem different than us. There are media sources and talk show hosts who are consistently promoting fear against others and people buy into it. This type of fear almost becomes like a contagious disease that spreads to all who are conned into believing whatever they say. There is also an extreme amount of fear in today’s political climate with how much harm some politicians want to do to our country and the world.
How do we overcome fear? We can only keep working at overcoming it. We can ask ourselves, are we choosing love…or fear? Marianne Williamson said, “Love is what we are born with. Fear is what we learn. The spiritual journey is the unlearning of fear and prejudices and the acceptance of love back in our hearts. Love is the essential reality and our purpose on earth. To be consciously aware of it, to experience love in ourselves and others, is the meaning of life. Meaning does not lie in things. Meaning lies in us.”
I can only hope that when it’s time for me to cross over and I watch my life review, I hope I chose love more times over fear. I’m still a work in process.
Published in the Cookeville Herald Citizen newspaper December 9, 2016.