Ad Spot

NELDON: Let’s talk about fear.

Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, plenty of spiteful words have been spewed toward individuals who share different beliefs. I won’t give the worst of those words a platform here, but if you’re curious, all you need to do is take a scroll through Facebook, peruse the comments section of a news article, or heck, stand in line at the grocery store for a few minutes.

One of the most common words I’ve heard over and over through this pandemic is a four-letter F-word. Though not the one that prompted a bar of soap in the mouth as a child, this word has reared its ugly head to the point it’s nearly a cliche since March 2020. It’s been used as an insult, an excuse, a cop out for doing the right thing.

Fear.

When told they could not gather due to the rapid spread of the COVID-19 virus, many accused those enforcing — and following — the rules “afraid.”

People wearing masks — especially after mass requirements were lifted — were called “scared.”

We were told not to succumb to fear, to stand up for our rights and take back our freedoms. Our fear was suddenly something of which we should be ashamed.

I don’t know about you, but when I hear of the more than half-million people who have lost their life to this virus, I am afraid.

When I encounter a friend who once ran marathons struggling for breath months after battling COVID, I am absolutely afraid.

And when I learn that someone I care about has come into contact with this deadly virus, you’re darn right I’m scared.

If you thumb through the pages of this week’s newspaper, you will find all sorts of people who are likely often afraid. You’ll see firefighters, police officers, educators and servicemen and women, all of whom encounter difficult situations every day. These individuals — our community’s heroes — are likely afraid often. Does that make them any less heroic?

Leadership speaker Catherine Bosley says, “Remember that bravery is not the lack of fear, but the ability to move forward in spite of fear.”

Like the civil servants listed above, when faced with fear, we are faced with decisions. How do we respond to that fear? We turn to faith. We spring into action. We do our part to make whatever is scaring us less scary.

If a firefighter uses a hose to put out a blaze that scares him, does that make him a coward, or a hero?

If you are given a tool to mitigate the thing that is scaring you and you choose not to use it, does that make you more brave?

If you claim not to be afraid of something scientifically proven to threaten your own existence, does that make you a hero, or oblivious?

As we battle another wave of hospitalizations, infection and mitigation strategies, I’ll be the first to tell you: I am afraid. I am afraid for my parents, my co-workers, my colleagues and my neighbors. I am even afraid for the folks who think I’m a coward for being afraid.

And I’m not ashamed.

I will use that fear to continue fueling my response to the thing scaring me.

And the irony of it all is — if everyone were a bit more afraid, we’d see a light at the end of the tunnel for all this fear.

Ambrosia Neldon is the publisher at Leader Publications. She can be reached by phone at (269) 687-7700, or ambrosia.neldon@leaderpub.com.

Dowagiac

Medical event causes car to crash into Dowagiac Burger King

Cass County

Cassopolis man sent to prison on drug charges

Dowagiac

SMC recognized for turning students into citizens

Dowagiac

ETS program awarded grant from Department of Education

Cass County

Dowagiac man who broke elementary school windows sentenced to probation

Dowagiac

Changes to retirement benefits cause for concern among Cass County employees

News

Niles first ward residents ask for an end to gun violence in their community

Buchanan

Buchanan Area Senior Center raising funds to convert porch into sunroom

Cass County

Man arrested on drug charges in Mason Township

Cass County

Cass County Commissioners approve grant for Dowagiac River restoration

Business

Lyons Industries donates 12 thermal imaging cameras to Indian Lake Volunteer Fire Department

Cass County

Niles man seriously injured in motorcycle crash

Dowagiac

Dowagiac Police Log: Sept. 13-14

Berrien County

Local emergency departments experiencing high volumes, wait times

Berrien County

Residents demand Berrien County commissioners take action on mask mandate

Business

Cassopolis hosts Cass County Leadership Summit

Business

Owners of vintage farm tractors invited to Under the Harvest Moon

Business

Edwardsburg welcomes new construction business

Cassopolis

Cassopolis organization to host walk honoring National Suicide Prevention Month

Business

PHOTO STORY: A-Mazing Acres opens for season

Buchanan

Niles teen builds Eagle Scout project on McCoy Creek Trail

Business

New short-term rental property group to offer guests ‘curated’ Dowagiac experience

Cass County

Two women injured in La Grange Township crash

News

Niles hosts town hall between community, law enforcement