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Thursday, September 25, 2008

Monster Under the Bed

My friend Cheri and I went to lunch today, and she told me a cute story about her 6 year old son. When she was reading him a story in bed last night, she noticed he was dangling a toy at his feet, kind of moving it around like you might play with a cat. Cheri asked him why he was doing that. He looked at her and said, "Mommy, I'm afraid, but I'm playing with the monster so he doesn't want to scare me tonight."

I was thinking, how many monsters do we believe in also? All of the things you imagine could happen, or are happening right now: someone is laughing at you behind your back, or you may lose your job, or --- fill in your own pet fear.

CS Lewis once said (in Screwtape Letters, I think) that a person's bravery will fail if he must face all the things that MIGHT happen, and try to be brave for every possibility. Many of these possible events are mutually incompatible anyway, and not worth worrying about until they happen.

It's hard enough to be brave for all of the things that do happen to us. Bravery can be a quick act, like jumping on a grenade to save your fellow soldiers, but often it's the quiet bravery of someone who's lost someone very dear and must just keep breathing, keep working and living.

Bravery is admirable in all forms. Cheri's little boy is brave -- although WE know the monster isn't there, to him it's real, and it takes courage for him to confront his fear. We don't know what monsters other people face. For example, I have a friend who used to be anorexic, and it takes great courage for her to let her children eat a bowl of ice cream at a birthday party. We need to be patient, and not to laugh at seemingly silly fears in others. We probably can't fully understand the terrors that person lives with underneath the bed.

1 comment:

Travis said...

As much as I enjoy your book, I really enjoy your blogs. As far as this post goes, I have to say, "AMEN!"

My son was going through a spell of nightmares for a while. We had trouble getting him to find enough peace to go to sleep. I had an idea to have him try and remember what his dreams were so we could talk about them the next day. Well, once he concentrated on remembering the bad dreams, they started to go away. I suppose that he focused on being afraid to the point that the dreams kept coming. Then, when he focused on remembering the dreams, they stopped coming.

I found that to be an interesting outcome. Now, he goes to sleep with a light saber and a cap gun in his bed with him, because they "become real at night" and he can use them to fight off whatever might scare him. Many mornings he wakes up with big smiles saying that he got to fight Darth Vader or a lion or something--and guess what? He always wins the fights!

I guess I better stop typing, or I'll take over your blog...