Fear That Hides Beauty

Cry, the beloved country, for the unborn child that is the inheritor of our fear. Let him not love the earth too deeply. Let him not laugh too gladly when the water runs through his fingers, nor stand too silent when the setting sun makes red the veld with fire. Let him not be too moved when the birds of his land are singing, nor give too much of his heart to a mountain or a valley. For fear will rob him of all if he gives too much.

Cry, the Beloved Country p. 111

“No one tells you, when you get born here, how much you’ll come to love it, and how you’ll never belong here.”

“Land of My Sojourn” -Rich Mullins

If only it was just that. It’s one thing to feel that the love we have for this place is misplaced. It’s quite another to have that love robbed by fear. To have it stripped away—either because it is abused and the birds no longer sing or because we’ve lost it—ourselves having been misplaced through our own poor choices or the choices of others. 

Yet how sad that we should want to keep the child from these joys because of fear of loss. Cry indeed for the child who is numbed to the existence of the beauty of creation out of fear that he will lose it—even if it’s guaranteed that he will lose it. Let not our fear be the fear that robs the child of the love of creation. 

A side note: I don’t believe the narrator is speaking of love of the earth in any idolatrous sense at all. I don’t think he means giving his heart to a mountain as opposed to God. He means, I think, loving the mountain or valley because of God—at least that is how Kumalo would see it. 

Instead let us instill in children a love for God’s creation that when they find themselves away from the birds, cut off from running water, hemmed in and unable to see the setting sun, they will long for beauty in such a way that if they can not find it, they will create beauty where they are. 

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