Life each day presents us with the unknown. What will happen? What will not happen? Our great fear is simply not knowing what comes next—and our ultimate fear is of the end. What happens when we die?
The big fear—of death—is expressed in all the little fears that roil our hearts, the hundred things each day we can’t predict or control.
The antidote is simply trust: to rest in whatever grace is sustaining us in this moment, and trusting that this same grace will be there in the next moment, and the next, and the next.
I like this Parable of the Twin Fetuses.
Once upon a time, a set of twins were conceived in the same womb.
Weeks passed, and the twins developed. As their awareness grew, they laughed for joy, “Isn’t it great that we were conceived? Isn’t it great to be alive?”
Together the twins explored their world. When they found their mother’s cord that gave them life they sang for joy, “How great is our mother’s love that she shares her own life with us.”
As the weeks stretched into months the twins noticed how much each was changing.
“What does this mean?” asked the one.
“It means that our stay in this world is drawing to an end,” said the other.
“But I don’t want to go,” said the one. “I want to stay here always.”
“We have no choice,” said the other, “but maybe there is life after birth!”
“But how can it be?” responded the one. “We will shed our life cord, and how is life possible without it? Besides, we have seen evidence that others were here before us and none of them have returned to tell us that there is life after birth.”
And so the one fell into deep despair saying, “If conception ends with birth, what is the purpose of life in the womb? It is meaningless! Maybe there is no mother at all.”
“But there has to be,” protested the other. “How else did we get here? How do we remain alive?”
“Have you ever seen our mother?” said the one. “Maybe she lives in our minds. Maybe we made her up because the idea made us feel good.”
Thus, while one raved and despaired, the other resigned himself to birth. He placed his hands in the trust of the mother.
Hours passed into days and days fell into weeks, and it came time. And both knew that their…birth was at hand. And both feared what they did not know.
And as the one was the first to be conceived, so he was the first to be born. The other followed after. And they cried as they were born out into the light. They coughed up fluid, and they gasped the dry air; and when they were sure that they had been born, they opened up their eyes and they found themselves cradled in the warm love of the mother. They lay open-mouthed, awestruck at the beauty of the mother whom they had never seen before.”