(149) When Terror Reigns

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Golly, Miss Molly

A Blog about a Service Dog and her Veteran with PTSD

(Supporting the Veteran and the Family Caregiver)

Within the past two months, two mass shootings rocked our community. Each episode left three dead and more than a dozen injured. Only days following the shooting at Planned Parenthood, the City of San Bernardino, California experienced a mass shooting that left another 14 dead in the reign of terror.

On the National Day of Prayer following 9-11, I was asked to offer a prayer for my community at a city-wide gathering in San Diego. I spent many hours in private prayer seeking wisdom, asking God for the words to say. Here is the passage He gave me to share:

“Keep sound wisdom and discretion, so they will be life to your shoulder and grace to your neck. Then you will walk safely in your way and your foot will not stumble. When you lie down, you will not be afraid; yes, you will lie down and your sleep will be sweet. Do not be afraid of sudden terror, nor of trouble from the wicked with it comes. For the Lord will be your confidence, and will keep your foot from being caught.” Proverbs 3:21b-26

Be Not Afraid

Theodore RooseveltTerrorism wins when we fear living for fear of dying. President Theodore Roosevelt understood this well and faced his fears head on.

“There were all kinds of things of which I was afraid at first, ranging from grizzly bears to “mean” horses and gun-fighters; but by acting as if I was not afraid I gradually ceased to be afraid.” (Strock, 45) As Christians, God tells us that the only fear we need have is fear of God. Psalm 34:4 says, “I sought the Lord, and He heard me, and delivered me from all my fears.” We need not be afraid.

Having conquered his fears, President Roosevelt continued on into the Presidency, serving the American people. In addition to approaching foreign policy under the Monroe Doctrine with “Speak softly and carry a big stick; you will go far,” he is known for amassing national parkland—places of sanctuary for our country even to the present day.

As we honored the life of Police Officer, Garrett Swasey, who died in the line of duty in the attack on Friday, November 27, I am comforted by Roosevelt’s perspective on death.

“…inasmuch as we must die, and it is a mere matter of a very few years whether we die early or late, the vital thing is that our deaths should be such as to help others to live.” Theodore Roosevelt on Leadership (Strock, 50)

When Fear Overwhelms

There is no shortage of fearful things in our lives, which we must overcome. To survive in war, a warrior must overcome his/her fear of death. A family caregiver must overcome fear of the changes to their Veteran after returning from war or of how those changes might impact their children. Health care workers must overcome fear of losing a patient. A child must overcome fear of a bully. For some, they must overcome fear of going outside of their home.

When we become paralyzed by fear, we lose the battle and terror reigns. As individuals, we cannot allow this paralysis; we must be strong to protect our families. Our cities and counties must not give in to fear, lest we become prisoners within their walls. As a country, we must overcome fear of our enemies—both foreign and domestic. To do this, we must stand strong and united with boldness and courage. For just as Theodore Roosevelt overcame his fears, we, too, as the American people shall overcome our fears.

“But he who listens to me shall live securely, and shall be at ease from the dread of evil.” Proverbs 1:33

Miss Molly’s Greatest Fears

I can only hypothesize about Miss Molly’s greatest fears. From watching her behavior, here is her top fiveMolly licking her lips list of fears:

  1. Missing dinner
  2. Missing breakfast
  3. Magpies that taunt her
  4. Being left home alone without a rawhide bone
  5. Missing treat time

Post your Comments:

What did you do to overcome a fearful situation in your life? Please reply below.

Photo credits: 123rf.com (except for Molly pics); photo of President Roosevelt courtesy of Wikipedia

Source cited:

  • Strock, James M. Theodore Roosevelt on Leadership: Executive Lessons from the Bully Pulpit. New York: Three Rivers Press, 2001

About the blogger

Dr. Penelope “Penny” Culbreth-Graft is a retired city manager and graduate professor. She lives with her disabled Vietnam Veteran husband, William, and his service dog, Molly, on Cheyenne Mountain in Colorado. She writes, paints, cares for her husband, and spends time with her granddaughter.