There Is No Cause For Panic, September 1

There are times in life when we are not sure what our next move will be, or what we should do in certain situations. It is on these occasions - when the seriousness of the difficulty and the need for a quick response makes us so uneasy, that many of us turn and run. But as Gandi said, "Panic is the most demoralizing state anyone can be in".

Through the ages men and women have panicked for many reasons, and the results have usually been very negative. Panic is a sudden, overpowering fear, and fear makes us irrational and irresponsible. It is impossible to think clearly when we are in a state of panic. To avoid this overpowering emotion, we must recognize some of the symptoms: a feeling of despair, the belief that there is no solution for our problems, the conviction that we are alone without help. Panic can occur suddenly or it can build slowly and gradually erode our common sense, leaving us stranded with our imagination running rampant.

Many recall the panic created by Orson Well''s War of the Worlds, a supurb piece of fiction, but to many the fear it created was as real as if an invasion of the Earth had already occured. When we don't have all the facts and we lose contact with the real world, panic sweeps in to take control.

True, a problem may exist, but it is most often far less serious that we imagine. Marie Curie said, "Nothing in life is to be understood".

As we examine the world around us, it is easy for us to become frightened and panic. We observe the growing pollution, we read or experience the gas or energy shortage, and we fear terrorists. These are real problems as are personal health and mental challenges. These are real problems, yes, but they are not solved with quick emotional responses. Solutions will be found and life will go on. As Epictetus said, "we must make the best use of what is in our power, and take the rest as it happens". But to panic and take refuge from life is to refuse life itself.

It is often said that moderation in all things is good, and that certainly holds true for our emotions. To again quote Gandhi, "there never is any cause for panic. One must keep heart whatever happens".

Pastor Hans Lillejord