I hate driving. Driving for me is like walking with a loaded gun; I am always conscious of the possibility of killing someone (or myself) whenever I get into a car. There is a true terror in consciousness. However, I don't experience this dread when I ride in a car with someone else. I relax, since the responsibility of safely guiding us is resting on someone else's shoulders and not my own.
Nancy Gibb's most recent essay in Time ("The Loneliest Job," January 12, 2010) about presidential decision making is case in point. She quotes Dwight D. Eisenhower, who sums up the this notion of existential dread that surfaces when "one man must conscientiously, deliberately, prayerfully scrutinize every argument, every proposal, every prediction, every alternative, every probable outcome of his action, and then--all alone--make his decision."
The weight of a country rests on a president's shoulders. But the weight of our salvation weighs on each of our own. The authentic self--the only self that God cares about--is that "pearl of great price" that demands we sell all we have and buy it. We are left alone to make the choices that constitute such a self.