I have no problem with spiders, nor am I afraid of heights, but here are 10 things that scare the bejabbers out of me:
1. Snakes. As a child, I hated going to the zoo because, even if we didn’t go near the herpaterium, I was still sure they could have escaped and were lying in wait for me.
2. Crocodiles and alligators. So menacing, so prehistoric. Many years ago in Thailand, a kind Jesuit took me to the world’s largest crocodile farm. I had to pretend to be fascinated, when all I wanted to do was run away as fast I could.
3. Cyclists at night who ride without lights and/or reflective clothing. I’m really worried that I’m going to hit one of them.
4. Zealots of both Right and Left – political and religious – who are so certain of their righteousness that they can’t begin to get beyond their fanaticism.
5. My own moodiness – there are times (thankfully pretty rare… so far!) when I seem to become a stranger to myself.
6. Lemon seeds that fall into my iced tea or gin and tonic… Most of you know about that little phobia already.
7. Tight dark spaces. I don’t think of myself as especially claustrophobic, but I hate being confined in small and narrow places.
8. I worry all the time that I will grow into a bitter and resentful old man. I want to be one of those gentle and generous wisdom figures, but I fear my grumpiness, anxiety and selfishness might get the better of me.
9. I fear that by my actions, or inaction, I have not only failed to love, but have done serious and lasting harm to others.
10. My deepest fear is that I am continually failing to see the faces and traces of God all around me.
What are some of the things that terrify you?