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Unstuck 1.7: Dread Not

An Angel of the Lord came down from Heaven, appearing to an ignorant shepherd boy, saying, “Fear not for I bring you tidings of great joy.” Under the eternal law of unintended consequences, that stupid shepherd reported the incident, and the people of this world have struggled ever since to overcome that innocently misunderstood injunction to be unafraid, thereby inspiring every following generation to be afraid; very afraid.

Do angels trade in paradox? This particular Angel of the Lord passed, like a window-rattling fart in very quiet church, a particularly knotty one: The Not Knot. Maybe it was the ignorant shepherd’s fault for misquoting that angel.

Literally, that AotL said, “Fear not,” which might not mean ‘don’t be afraid’ but ‘be afraid of NOT.’ When I tell you not to be afraid, you can no more be unafraid then than you could not think of that damned proverbial rhinoceros when they told you not to think of it. No surer way to induce what you don’t want than to insist that someone ‘not do’ something.

I’m so talented I can tie myself in nots.

I play a guitar called a dreadnought, named after the broad body and squared shoulders of a popular type of battleship. Playing a guitar, a soothing activity for me, involves fretting, or holding strings down onto metal strips imbedded in the instrument’s neck. I dreadnought by fretting.

Likewise, I fear not by fearing ... not. I’m becoming more sensitive to the holes I create and the ones others innocently as ignorant shepherd boys construct for me. Not might qualify as plenty enough devil for anyone.

I’ve never written a song without first dreading its absence. For the longest time I thought this a personal shortcoming. Shouldn’t I exude confidence insead? Won’t my fretting sour the result? Apparently, no. My fretting yields joyful enough noise so far.

Be unafraid of dreading not.

©2012 by David A. Schmaltz - all rights reserved

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