A Vaccination Against Fear

My 13-year-old grandson and his dad are leaving for a class trip to Washington, D.C. in the morning. When he came home from school today, he said that many of the kids in the class are very fearful of going because of the threats that have been made against the city by terrorist organizations. What can I say to him?

As the result of the horror of the attacks on Paris this past weekend, I believe kids are not the only ones who are carrying fear in their hearts. I have pondered and prayed on this during the past few days and I can see that fear and despair are dreadfully contagious. They spread like wildfire, blown by the fierce winds of social media, 24-hour news channels, and, yes, sad to say, some pulpits.

However, there is something else that is very contagious—HOPE!  Shane Lopez, a leading researcher in positive psychology and author of Making Hope Happen, says, “The revelation for me over all these years of doing this research is that hope is contagious. The intriguing part of that ‘hope is shared’ message is that if you’re around hopeful people, you become more hopeful in time.”

One of the ways that both hope and despair are shared is through storytelling. This week we have seen again the misery and despair that has been wrought by the storytelling of those with evil intent—stories that turn young people into killing machines, stories that incite fear of people fleeing violence, stories of hate.

As a vaccination against the contagion of these stories, let’s purposefully share OUR stories of hope, faith, and love! They are powerful! When we share these stories, we ourselves become stronger, more resilient, and better able to weather the circumstances of life. We become more hopeful! As a result, people around us begin to catch the spirit of hopefulness and the whole community is built up and encouraged.

Take time this week to share a story of a person, an experience, a place that has filled you with hope. Carry this message of hope with you into tomorrow, the next day, the next day, the next day…

“…hope does not disappoint us,

because God’s love has been poured into our hearts

through the Holy Spirit that has been given to us.”

Romans 5: 5 NRSV


  1. Carol Henry
    Nov 18, 2015

    So true and so needed. Thank you for
    reminding me. You are so wonderful
    and I love you. I’ll pray for safety and good
    father/son time.

  2. Mary Lou McMillin
    Nov 18, 2015

    The Amistad Mission is as filled with HOPE as any story I can imagine right now. Can hardly wait to share it with you. It is a small but steady beacon of light in Cochabamba Bolivia. I love you!

  3. Jane Givens
    Nov 18, 2015

    I thought Inward Outward shared a very good message (in the same vein regarding fear) and how we fall prey to it when we don’t/can’t find our faith/hope in anything.
    In AlAnon we say that FEAR is Future Events Appearing Real–that is why “one day at a time” is helpful for us.

  4. Mary Himelright
    Nov 18, 2015

    Thank you…for the gift of your story and sharing hope in light of the days we’re living in! Always no matter what you are going through your hope is contagious!!! You are loved beyond words. Prayers for you and for grandson, his Dad and all those on this trip to Washington. May they have a safe trip and an enjoyable class trip with God’s loving arms around all of them casting their fears aside.

  5. Brenda Linkenhoker
    Nov 18, 2015

    Thank you for sharing with us that Hope is our answer.

  6. Beverly Silver
    Nov 18, 2015

    Thanks Donna, I don’t know how you can write such beautiful encouragement, but am grateful for the the blessings you share! I think Shawn (forget which spelling he uses!) and his son will have a great time in DC, and hope the youngster will see some of the greatness of our country and history. Love, Bev.

  7. melodie davis
    Nov 19, 2015

    Thank you for speaking and spreading these words of hope. Bless you always, Melodie

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