The rhythmic swish of gentle waves, the muted voices of parents calling to children, the happy chatter of children interrupted by shouts and splashes, the soundless breeze, the sunshine baking upturned faces, a sailboat gliding silently toward the beach—all these blend together to make the summer vacation. Whether in Italy or at the Great Lakes, on the Atlantic or Pacific shore, or on one of the islands of the seas, there is an attempt to relax, to unwind, to forget, to put “fear of fear” away, and to breathe deeply and easily.…
Suddenly the blue of the sky is pierced by two dark shapes accompanied by the shriek of jet sound. Bomber planes and their shadows dive close to the water, turn sharply up again, and rise like a streak of lightning to disappear over the hills. A quick return curve to repeat the practice, and then the shattered silence is restored. Heads that were lifted to look in surprise are back contemplating sand-castles, or books, or the need for more suntan lotion, or watches to see if it might be time for lunch. Fear? No. No fear where there is confidence. Confidence—that one is protected, that one is in a safe place, that danger is far, far off. Confidence nullifies fear.
But sometimes confidence is misplaced. The students studying innocently as part of their university work in Africa had no fear of being kidnapped. They were confident that they were safe because it was a study center of a reputable sort. Their confidence was suddenly shattered when that which they had not feared came suddenly upon them.
Confidence as a quality in itself will not push away the possibility of a fearful calamity. There are sudden attacks, snipers, assassins, kidnappers, accidents, illnesses, operations, breakdowns, fires, robberies, ...1
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