What are you afraid of? Spiders, elevators, bats, flying, there are so many things people are afraid of, and fear can keep you from doing the things you want to do. When I was young I was told “If you do not face up to your fears the will control you.” I was as afraid of snakes as one could be, they haunted me in my dreams and growing up in the country with a lake out front and miles of woods out back, snakes were a reality. Garden snakes, corn snakes, water moccasins, and rattle snakes. When I was young (single digit young) I was playing in the woods and found my way to a pond where Joe Venice would take me fishing, as I stood staring at the water hoping to grab a fish for dinner, I saw something on a rock nearby. It was a rattle snake lying in the sun and I felt the fear all over, then I got mad, not at the snake, but at myself I was not going to let my fear control me. I took my pocket knife out and cut a nice green stick about six feet long and put a point on the end of it, good strong stick about as big around as a quarter. I went over to where the snake was and as I approached it coiled and rattled, warning that it was going to strike. I struck the snake and it reared back and struck but I was too far away. I struck it again and again, finally stabbing it, with my stick I then stood on its head and with my knife cut the head off. It is true it continued to wiggle and the head snapped. Finally I cut off the rattle, a keepsake. I had conquered my fear of snakes.
Years later, as a teenager I became aware of another kind of fear, this fear was different, it didn’t make sense. This fear manifested itself as prejudice, a fear of something different, be it color, religion, or the way someone spoke. I had experienced it bit of it growing up, I was picked on because a couple in my class thought they were better than me, they didn’t like that I was country, a rebel (Southern) and a loner. I had a best friend in high school, he was black, together we felt like “I Spy”, we worked together, and laughed a lot. We realized that prejudice equaled fear and prejudicial fear was ignorance, a lack of understanding of what is really true. Sooner or later ignorance reveals its true identity, stupidity. When one stops looking at the physical and realizes that it is the person inside, the part that thinks thoughts, that makes conversation, creates things like; music, tools, books, knowledge, that really matters then we find the truth. We see what is inside when we see with the heart, and that is true 20/20 vision.