Just because the Harbour Bridge was mentioned today in the media (for a ridiculous reason which doesn't bear repeating) I shall post a picture from a very early morning photo shoot when I was waiting for the fast ferry to Manly.
This was posted today as an open response to the Marriage Equality Plebiscite from Quakers Australia:
The Religious Society of Friends, commonly known as Quakers, supports the right of adult couples in loving and committed relationships to marry, regardless of gender. We also support the right of such couples to have their marriages accorded equal recognition and respect under the law of Australia.
Our faith prompts us to recognise the divine in all people. It is a basic Quaker principle that all people are equal in the Spirit. As part of the journey to live our faith, we have worked to support the equal treatment of all persons regardless of sex, race or religion. The way has been hard at times, and we recognise that true equality will always remain a direction to be travelled rather than a destination to be reached.
In 2010 Australian Quakers came together and agreed to celebrate marriages within our Meetings regardless of the sexual orientation or gender of the partners. Quakers have long held that marriage “is the Lord’s work and we are but witnesses”. The question before us was simply whether to open our hearts to these marriages that already existed among us.
The law currently prevents Quakers from facilitating the same legal recognition for same-sex marriages that we do for other marriages. This legal prohibition is fundamentally inconsistent with Quaker faith and practice. True religious freedom would encompass the freedom to include, celebrate and recognise the commitments of LGBTIQ couples, as both spiritual and legal marriages.
We recognise that everyone will be at a different point in the journey. Some have purported to speak on behalf of all Christians in opposing marriage equality. Such people do not speak for us. We invite them to continue to follow their path with integrity, while asking that they recognise that their way is not for all people of faith.
Quakers consider that a majority vote in a voluntary public poll is an inappropriate way to decide the legal rights of minorities who are subject to discrimination. We are also concerned about the impacts on LGBTIQ people, their children and families. But if such a vote is held, we encourage everyone to open their hearts, to choose love over fear, and to support marriage equality in Australia.
Religious Society of Friends (Quakers) in Australia
Australia Yearly Meeting Office
119 Devonshire St
Surry Hills NSW 2010
P: 0403 913 719
I've decided to leave Facebook. I've two primary reasons: first, I don't think it's allowing for the type of connection I want to build and maintain with my friends; second, it is frankly starting to creep me out.
Facebook, on the surface, has been a way to keep tabs on friends spread far across the world and reach back in time to maintain friendships from the past. However, I don't find that I'm engaging with people in the considered way I need to on order to make these relationships substantive. I often feel I'm peering round the corners of connections as if looking through your living room window across the street. I have friends on Facebook with whom I've not communicated directly in a dozen years or more but from whom I receive regular updates on the state of their health and families, their travels, work, and major life decisions. Likewise, when I sporadically share something on Facebook, I often am either bringing out something very deep from my life in a passing way or making a comment on a specific situation that might not translate well to social media. In both cases, I'm sending or receiving a partial picture of life that isn't making that essential connection in the way that I want or need with my friends—and I am feeling the lack of that in the process.
Also, I do manage part of social media for my work and am privy to some back-end aspects of Facebook that disturb me (just to be clear, this is from presentations I've attended from companies that offer data mining from Facebook, not anything that my employer is actually doing). Facebook, from all the interactions you have with friends and companies online, knows all too much about you. I find myself confronted with ads on Facebook almost before I myself know I'm shopping for something. A couple years ago, days after my divorce and before I had openly communicated this to my friends, I had ads appear for dating services (specifically dating services tailored to divorcées). I'm not comfortable with the subtle cognitive shift that comes from an algorithm deciding what is most pertainant in my life on a given day.
I need to maintain an account as it's the way I access the admin for my work page. But I'm going to make it quite sparse and disconnect from all of you as 'friends' on Facebook. What I would ask you to do is, if you do want to commune with me, please reach out occasionally via email or the contact page here. I will also attempt to write more on my weblog and maintain a regular flow of thoughts (I just want to do it on my own terms and in a space where I'm controlling the back end of things). What I don't want to do is disappear from people's lives; I'm not leaving Facebook to withdraw but, instead, to more significantly and directly engage with people I care about. We can't do that in a quick skim through our timelines with ads for miscelleny inserted in the mix.
So, I'm here in a more focused way and want to keep the connections that we've taken time (whether a year ago or twenty) to have some part in each other's lives. I think, for me, that's not benefited by Facebook; I'd like to hear from you, dear friends; I just no longer want a social media page to be the arbiter of our connection.
I'm curious about two things now. One is how many people comment on this in Facebook vs. here on my weblog. The second is, after I post this and start cleaning out my account, whether I'll suddenly get a barrage of messages from The Algorithm asking me not to leave.
This morning I received an email from Lyle Shelton, Managing Director of The Australian Christian Lobby. I have neither met Mr Shelton nor communicated with him in any way, yet he saw fit to send an email encouraging me, as a ''Church Leader" to ''activate'' in response to the postal plebiscite on marriage equality. Mr Shelton did not contact me previously about aid for refugees fleeing to Australia from conflicts abroad; he did not contact me about the need for interfaith dialogue in a pluralistic society; he did not even contact me last week about an appropriate faith response to the homeless encampment in Martin Place. Mr Shelton has reached out, for the first time, about an issue he assumes must be the primary point of agreement that I, as a Quaker, have with the general community of Christians in Australia (namely that a sizable portion of Australian residents are less deserving of a given set of rights than ''us'').
I have, if I were to actually think about it, at least eight colleagues at my workplace who are gay (or, rather, who have made known that they are as it honestly has nothing to do with our work relationship). I have a number of friends and acquaintances who are gay. Some of them, amazingly, have families and seem to lead relatively happy lives (or, at least, as happy lives as the rest of ''us'' manage to do as they are equally as human with no more or less faults that others).
The email I received this morning implies, ominously, that the inclusion of gay people in the same category of rights that are enjoyed by other Australians, will somehow bode ill for ''our'' children. This is the same straw man set up anytime homosexuality is mooted in a public space, they are coming for your children. The email specifically mentions the evils of the Safe Schools program; Safe Schools is not a means to advocate or promote homosexuality. It's a way to provide a healthy space for young people who are coming to terms with their own sexuality. It's a way to educate children, as they come to comprehend a new and sometimes confusing part of life, about the need for inclusion and understanding of others. (I still find the whole thing a bit bewildering at forty-two; give the kids some tools for goodness' sake!)
The message in the email was that, by allowing for a safe space in schools, religious freedom would be curtailed. Their logic concludes that, if ''our'' religious freedom is to be maintained then the freedoms of others must, of necessity, be suppressed. This never works in a way that is not damaging to both the free and certainly not to the ones who are put down. Basically everyone is bound in an increasingly narrowed container of freedoms that are defined by a subset of society. Freedom of conscience, private action, and self-determination aren't concepts that constrain religion or belief; these are, indeed, the foundation of a society where all faiths can flourish. Paradoxically, the argument that a given religious idea should prevail over all others is what eventually causes both that idea and the larger system to implode.
There is a much deeper issue here than homophobia; I would say that most of the people behind such anti-gay movements are not especially afraid of gay people (they are uncomfortable, but there is a difference between that and fear). And few of them actually think that there is some gay agenda to come into schools and ''turn'' their children gay. What they are most concerned about is that, by teaching children how to understand others, they will lose control over the narrow worldview they want their children and general society to have. If I develop the parallel skills of self-determination and empathy, there is little hold that a prescriptive social or religious system can have over me; I can go on and determine what is necessary for social cohesion based on my interaction with "them" (and realise that, in fact, I am part of "them").
This is rather blunt, but I think the essence of it. The Australian Christian Lobby doesn't care who you are in bed with; they'd rather really not think about that. (Or, there is a whole other story here that some people might be thinking of it...a bit too much.) What they do fear is that there will be a gradual opening of understanding that this group of people who they have demonised are actually ''humans'' with rights, that they are, indeed, just like everybody else. And these kinds of revelations break the bonds of control that ''Church Leaders'' have over their flocks. It's the same reason these people are opposed to interfaith dialogue; breaking down the us and them dynamic weakens the bind of control from within. The primary fear is that, without The Other to oppose, there will not be enough spiritual locus to hold things together in the group and it will dissolve. What they can't see is that we all can hold our own sacredness; that, if The Other holds a given matter sacred, it does not diminish that which is sacred for me.
I cannot speak as a Church Leader. For one, that's not how Quakers work but, also, there is no way to speak for all Christians any more than one can speak for all Australians or white people or any group (or, conversely, can one speak of The Homosexuals, The Muslims, etc.). To assume that one has that ability, as is assumed in this email, is overly presumptive. I would ask though, what is to be gained by furthering inequity on this matter? The dogged determination to oppose it is now going to cost the treasury many millions of dollars for a postal plebiscite. To what end when I would argue that gay people will, if not now then eventually, be granted full equality. This is reminiscent of a flat earth argument in the years following the discovery with all certainty that we are walking on a sphere. But, more pointedly, are you indeed arguing for inequity and a continued narrowing of understanding in the world? If that is your proposal, for a world where people are actively discriminated against based on the parameters you set, you lose the argument at the outset. Speak your truth, by all means; but bring a positive truth as a contribution to the whole, not as a means to contain and control. We are, by all obvious markers, in a world of diversity; we need to learn how to generate understanding and inclusion in it or we are not going to progress (or, frankly, survive). This has far larger implications than this issue at hand and those other matters are here upon us now as we dither!
Update on this; see the open letter response from Quakers Australia here.
This has been a year of firsts which, inevitably after someone's death, follows a year of lasts. This is the first mother's day without my mother. The picture above is, I think, the last picture we had together. It was on a walk a few days before I returned to Australia in late April last year. By this time today in May, Mom was back in hospital with a recurrent infection. We had several walks like this in the time we had last April. On this one or another, we sat on a bench and she said that she was okay if she had to go—that she had lived a good life and was content with whatever was to come. I'm content too; I dearly miss her, but in some ways one can't argue the point of contentment with a dying person. We bring who we are to this life and, if given that opportunity in our passing, we have first opinion in the matter as we go. I can try to rationalise a peace right now by considering how mom was going and the likelihood that, had she lived till now, she would probably be very ill, that her quality of life would be poor, etc. But, that's almost beside the point. She wasn't expressing contentment about dying just as an escape from pain; she was content because I think she genuinely felt she had a good life and was fulfilled in it. She said, of course, she wished she had more time but that would be the wish of anyone living a contented life. I'm just thankful she had the time and opportunity to express this as we transitioned through our lasts and firsts.
As these times come, I'm realising a lot about language and assumptions we have. I overheard someone on Friday say something to the extent of 'well if we don't have children, at least we all have mothers.' In these past weeks, I've seen a lot of advertisements about not 'forgetting mom' on mother's day. Previously it somehow didn't readily occur to me that, wait, not everyone has a mother. I suppose it's human nature to take for granted that one's mother is always there because she always has been. Do consider for a moment how acute that loss can feel for those who have lost a mother on a day like today (and equally for women who would want to be mothers but can't or who have lost children).
But, today I won't 'forget mom'; I was back in the States last month walking in the same garden, sitting on the same bench. From all I can sense, she continues walking in contentment with everyone who loved her in this life as we walk on in ours.
Ah, Fostex; I'm not sure I completely comprehend the manufacturing or marketing ethos of this company. To the best of my understanding, it seems to be something along the lines of 'Let's make a product that is pretty solid, has some good features, and appeals to a limited group of professionals. However, we'll just make version 1.0, only make it for about a year, then discontinue it and never speak of it again.'
Between the exchange rates in Australia and having a good dealer here in Sydney, I've ended up with a variety of Fostex gear in my studio. I tend to do a lot of research prior to purchase, but it's often difficult to find much commentary online regarding Fostex equipment in use. So I thought it might be worthwhile to write a bit about my experiences with some of this kit. The first two items are the FM-3 and FM-4 field mixers (the FM-4 is from work; I purchased the FM-3 myself when the dealer had a demo unit at an unbeatable price).
Both units are physically and technically similar with a few significant differences. The cosmetics of Fostex gear has, in the past, been—distinctive; let's just say that functionality apparently won over aesthetics. That's not to imply their gear was not well built; I have seen Fostex equipment running along smoothly many years after the expected use-by date. But they took things up a notch with both these mixers. They are very well machined and put together (externally and internally). I expect many years of solid service from them; I take good care of my gear and don't work in extreme environments but I would imagine this kit would also stand up well to rough use as well.
The layout is logical and easy to comprehend (though, granted, it's laid out like most professional mixers in this regard; if you have a basic understanding of signal flow, you'll be able to pick either unit up and have it working in a few moments). There are some 'set and forget' features in the on-screen menu; but most functions are modified by physical switches and knobs. I find this reassuring in actual use as I don't want to fiddle with menus in the middle of a live broadcast. All the controls are very well thought out with recessed dials to set and lock; the main gain and volume dials are well dampened with a useful tactile references (always welcome as I'm often working in poorly lit environments).
All the standard inputs are accepted through the three or four Neutrik connectors (XLR only not the XLR/TRS combo; I suppose if one dearly needed TRS the connectors could be readily replaced as they are a standard fitting). In addition to line level, dynamic, and P48 they've also included T-Power which is a pleasant bonus for professionals using the few remaining or older T-Power microphones. Note that both units provide a solid P48 feed to all mics. I have run these in the studio powering multiple large diaphragm mics at once with no issues at all. Granted, that's been with an external 12v power supply, but the internal battery also seems to provide adequate power for extended times. With dynamic or line level inputs, the batteries last all day.
On the subject of power, both units share a nicely designed caddy that holds 8 AA batteries. I have them loaded with NiMh rechargeables (there is an option in the menu to give accurate battery readings for either alkaline or rechargeable). The caddy is a welcome departure from other designs which required the user to remove a double handful of AA batteries from the unit itself. This is frustrating in the field in the middle of a recording or standing outdoors, etc. Instead, I have several loaded caddies in the bag and can just quickly exchange them. There is also a door on the unit itself that closes over the battery cavity if none is loaded. Quite tidy. Also, kudos for sharing the same caddy for both units. Normally though I'm using these units in the studio or in a location setup with power. In that case, I plug in a heavy duty 12v power supply. Both units have a standard professional four pin power connection (as well as a Hirose DC out for ancillary devices). I can't stress how much I wish more gear had this standard connector. It's a given, in professional environments, that one will connect and disconnect the power thousands of times over the life of the unit. I have had multiple failures of the little consumer barrel connectors that are too often used.
Moving round to the front, we have the control surface. This is similar on both units. Obviously the FM-3 only has three channels; however, it also loses continuous channel panning (has a L-C-R hard switch instead) as well as the tone controls of the FM-4. I find that I don't use the EQ much in the field unless it's in a live setting and I'll not have the opportunity to EQ in post. You can only EQ two individual channels at a time anyway so it's more of a problem solver than an everyday feature. Both units provide plenty of gain with all but the most dense dynamic mics. Any powered mic I've put through has come through with gain in spades. All channels are very clean and clear of any hint of hiss or distortion (I wouldn't hesitate to use either unit for detailed music recordings though most of what I do is speech).
Both units have the standard set of slate and monitoring controls (including basic MS mix in the headphones). They've included useful little things like a locking slate switch; instead of a momentary contact, you can turn on a 1k tone and keep it going whilst setting levels down the line. The headphone path is...adequate. It's built more for power than nuance; I can drive any pair of headphones I have (or two pair as there are two headphone jacks); however, it's not the quietest headphone amp in the world. This is something that I wish mixer manufacturers would not skimp on as I would like to hear exactly what I'm recording. I know there must be some trade off between power and detail for this though. My FM-4 did have some noise issue with the headphone amp and, after repair, it sounds far better (better than the FM-3). I have a feeling that the dealer here replaced a part with one having a superior spec to the original.
The menu system isn't often accessed as it's where one sets some level and routing parameters as well as safety features (one can turn off T-Power to avoid the risk of damaging dynamic or ribbon mics). The limiter on both units is quite good and can be set to a soft curve or something a bit more aggressive. The menu also shows the current routing diagram of the main bus; however, that's all apparent from the setting of the switches on the side of the unit so I'm not often looking at that.
Now, on the menu, here is my one significant gripe with the whole design—the display screen. It's too small, too dim, and too low resolution; there is just no getting round that. If it were just for the menu options, that would be fine. However, it's also used for metering—one of the most important visual interface functions of a mixer. You can switch between showing a full screen Left or Right or showing both L/R simultaneously. Also, it's good that they include both peak and VU metering, but having it all on the little screen all together makes for squinty viewing on the go. I'd really much rather have an old fashioned analogue VU meter with a basic LED bar of peak indication. It's also (again, in Australia) difficult to see this display in bright sunlight (as opposed to the SoundDevices mixer I have which I have to turn down to avoid lighting up the room indoors). This isn't an altogether write-off for the units but you should carefully consider under what circumstances you'll use the kit.
Both units have a comprehensive output section which makes them useful for a variety of routing needs. I'm often needing to route to different recorders and/or send a line feed for live sound at different levels. The FM-4 also allows one to send a 'straight' feed 4-in/4-out. I sometimes use it as a pre-amp head in the studio to send four line level outs to my audio interface when I run out of mic-pres (the FM-3 is just two channel out as there isn't space on the panel for individual outs for all three channels). I do have a five pin cable to daisy chain the units together. This feeds the output of the FM-3 straight into the bus of the FM-4 giving me seven channels mixed down to stereo or mono. I rarely use this but it can be a handy feature if I'm out somewhere and don't want to haul out a large desk mixer when I just need a few extra channels.
Altogether, both units are well built, sound great and are worth looking into if you can find them on the used market. I just wish Fostex had continued with the line and kept improving it. There is, internally, even a connection for a A/D convertor card. I checked with the dealer here who said that was a planned expansion that just never made it to market. I would love to have this as a mic-pre with AES out! Alas; not to be.
- solid build
- clean sound and amplification
- all expected connections for input/output and power
- ability to cascade units for additional channels
- very flexible options for varying output levels (balanced and unbalanced)
Cons (though these are mostly nit-picking except for the metering):
- metering limitations
- powerful but not nuanced headphone amp
- series seems to have vanished off the catalogue
My mother passed away last week; I spoke at her funeral on Monday. When I began to write the words I would say, it was my intention to make a eulogy. However, I need someone to write to so rather than speak of her, I wrote to her in a letter. I placed a copy of this in her casket and read it at the funeral service.
For these past days, I’ve struggled to find words to say in this moment. It’s something we’ve been aware of and preparing for but, when it came, it all seemed so sudden. I’ve never known a moment of my life without knowing you were there somewhere or at least on the other end of the phone. Now I’m standing here and, while your presence has not diminished, it has changed. It will take a while for all of us to live with this. It will take a while for all of us to understand the ways we’ve been parted but also, perhaps, the new ways in which we are together. Yesterday, at the visitation, so many friends and family spoke of the presence you had in their lives and how they feel this will continue. I think your spirit was so alive with people here that, even now, we feel that will carry on.
I spoke with you the day before you died; you could acknowledge hearing me but really couldn’t form words. I said you were the best mother I could have ever hoped for; that you would always be in my spirit. That, if you needed to get better you could but also, if you needed to let go, you could go that way with grace. We’ve spoken much in the past months of hope and grace–the hope for healing but also the grace we can find in difficult times. We are given this grace to learn what it means to be human spirits in this world yet that’s not often an easy grace to receive. You have, for me and so many of the people here today, been a channel for grace. You've come to be, in the midst of it all, an example of what it means to have a good spirit in the times that challenge us most. I think, for all of us who knew you, that’s not making you more than who you were–but saying you always seemed to be the best of who you were in the middle of that grace.
You have, in your life, brought the joy of your presence to so many people–as a nurse, as a friend and neighbour, as a member of our family, your joyfulness was your most apparent trait. I think, as a child, I didn’t fully realise the energy needed to maintain the kind of graciousness you brought to people; but, somehow, you seemed to always have plenty of it in reserve. Our ancestors were Quakers, their founder, George Fox had a saying–he hoped we could "Walk cheerfully over the earth, answering that of God in everyone.” You I think, more than many people I know, could see that of God in others. So much of your spirit has informed who I am as a person. I have walked all over the earth, not always in cheerful places, but the spirit you have given me as my mother has also allowed me to see the presence of God in all these different people. I hope I can go cheerfully in my journey as you did in yours; I hope that the energy for doing so can pass along to me–to all of us here–in a way that can increase and multiply. That, for me, is the legacy you leave.
Since I flew back a couple days ago, I’ve been looking through pictures of us as a family when I was a child. It’s a strange thing to see pictures of you and dad when you were fifteen or twenty years younger than I am now. It’s something to realise the responsibility you both took on to have a child but, as I think how much I’ve grown during the past twenty years as an adult, to also consider how you were maturing and growing during that time in your life. Of course, as a child, your parents are always ‘adults’ like you are some kind of static finished people. But I’m of an age now where I am friends with ‘young’ people who are older than you when you had me–and we still all have a lot of completing to do. I want to thank you for the time you took to grow with me; to become who you were and shape who I am. You are my mother, but in so many ways you were also my closest friend. In that, you have shown me what friends need to be so I can wisely choose mine and also be a friend to others.
There is much more I would like to write; I will probably still take the time to do so in the coming weeks and months. I’m so glad we’ve had the time we were given since you fell ill to speak openly about many things; most people don’t have that opportunity. When you had heart surgery and were later diagnosed with cancer, I was far away having such a difficult time personally. I’m glad you could see that time pass and know that I’m okay. Also, and this is a dear gift, many people speak of frustrations with their mother or unresolved issues of one kind or another–we truly had none of that. You told me last month that you were at peace with whatever was to come of this; I can tell you now that, though I will miss your presence here, I’m at peace with where we parted. We had forty tremendously close years together and I will carry that with me for whatever time I remain here as well.
I’ve always been a wanderer; I’ve traveled and now live on the other side of the world. Yet, wherever I have been, I knew you and dad were here at ‘home’–that this was a place to return to. That’s a little different now; a few days ago in Australia, on the phone with dad after you passed, I felt this great loss of home. But, I’m coming to understand that you are with me everywhere now, that this spirit of you and what you’ve helped make in me gives me that sense of place wherever I am.
When we last spoke, I told you I love you; you did manage to say, ‘I love you’ in return. Those were your last words to me; I imagine they were your first as well. All the years in between were filled with love. I hope, as I continue on in this world, I can bring the love you have shown me to others in my life. We shall all miss you but you’ve left your love here with us; so, for me, the greatest part of you remains.
If Australia isn't a distinctive place that welcomes the newcomer as 'The People of Australia', it will be lost—not that the culture we have now will be inundated by others, but there will be a more serious loss of soul from lack of cohesion. It will be the loss of a shared sense of placeRead More
I woke Tuesday morning to the news that the Erawan Shrine in central Bangkok had been bombed; this is particularly poignant for me as I was at that shrine a week before to the day. I'm going to take care not to say 'relevant' for me as, frankly, other than the shared humanity I have with the victims, I am not really connected to the incident. I think there can be a bit of 'adventure hubris' in saying too eagerly, 'yeah, I was right there man…well, a week before but, hey, close call wasn't it?'
I do find it ironic that I was also in Madrid at one of the train stations that was bombed about a week prior; in both instances I had the thought that these places seemed relatively safe. I continually (and this is perhaps more prevalent with American friends) hear comments about how unsafe the world is now—that we could be attacked 'anywhere and everywhere'. However, the chances of 'us' experiencing a terrorist incident are vanishingly small; I've been in some pretty dodgy places yet my most dangerous moment came on an open stretch of road in rural Maryland (in an accident with a statistically impossible chance of survival).
There is something askew with both the sense of safety and danger when people simultaneously assume that the real risks are on the battlefield or 'over there' in Syria, Iraq or South Sudan but, also, 'they' are coming to get us here in our local neighbourhood. Yes, both/and, but perhaps not at the extremes imagined. That's no consolation to the people living in the midst of war or the families of those killed in attacks; but I personally can't live my life in constant heightened awareness of danger. I also don't make flippant assumptions about risks (either in the aforementioned dodgy places or walking home in my quiet suburb at night).
This is the psychology of terrorism; you don't have to acquire an arsenal of nuclear bombs or vast armies. All that needs doing is to subtly shift people's assumptions about safety and risk. Once you've done that, you have control over their actions and life decisions. This shift can be about one's own city or some distant place; I was reminded yesterday about a conversation I had after returning to Philadelphia from the DR Congo, "Didn't you feel really…unsafe?" Yes, The DRC is dangerous, but I felt no more unsafe than I did in Philly where I, almost every night, heard gunshots down the street. That doesn't mean I must stop engaging with life in my neighbourhood or the world.
This comes down to something I've been speaking with a friend with over the past weeks; she does work in dangerous situations involving human trafficking and the darkness of the world. But, she said it's more dangerous to ride a motor scooter in traffic in Thailand (after experiencing this firsthand…yes). If you are doing what you are destined to do; then what greater safety is there? Everything must happen as it must. There is an old saying about 'sitting in the Heart of God'; that's not a place of fear. It may be a place of dangers and risks; but dangers and risks are everywhere—and, in a sense, nowhere in particular. I should think it's more important to encounter one's full purpose in life and let that life unfold as it may (but do wear a helmet).