Remember the boogey-man?
When I was a little girl, the boogeyman was real. Scary movies convinced me that he was lurking under my bed making me even more afraid of the dark than I already was. When I went to sleep, I would make sure that all parts of my body were well covered, including my head and eyes, excluding my nose and mouth. Fortunately, even as a little girl I knew I had to breathe. I had the same recurring nightmare of a huge, black, faceless rabbit with a long tale that would chase me. Thankfully, when I became a Christian at 17, the rabbit went away. So did the boogeyman and most of my fears. Of course, none of my fears were real except to me. But, to me, they were very real. I was reminded of how real fear can seem to some and not to others recently while at the beach.
My sister and I planned a beach day. We do that now and then to reconnect and decompress. Now, normally, one would think there is little to fear at the beach except for maybe sharks, but we don’t go into the ocean; or jellyfish, but I’m told a little bit of pee can help that. Being a ghostly-white redhead, the sun is my very scary factor. I still have memories of blisters on my shoulders and back and my whole body in pain except for the areas covered by my bathing suit, which wasn’t much back then. I would sleep with only three points of burnless contact. The first point of contact were the bottoms of my feet which would be flat on my bed, my knees bent every so slightly so as not to have skin touching skin, thus avoiding it being stuck together in the morning. The second point of contact would be my rear, I am forever grateful that full coverage bottoms were the style back then. Finally, the back of my head would rest on a pillow that was not allowed to touch my back or shoulders and that is how I slept. To this day I can, literally, sleep anywhere and in almost any position. It is a gift. But, as usual, I digress, …
My sister and I planned a beach day…It was a glorious beach day, with bright sunshine, a beautiful breeze, and low humidity! A Mary Poppins beach day, “Practically perfect in every way!” My sister brought a small canopy to ward off the sun’s beautiful, but burning rays, I had a good book, we both had snacks, and the bathroom with real flush toilets was close by…perfect!
On one of our trips to the bathroom, we passed two young guys walking towards the beach, laughing. On our quest for relief, we ignored them and kept walking somewhat oblivious to anything that may have been on the railing. On our return trip we encountered two older women who were plastered against one railing and paralyzed in fear of the other railing. What we hadn’t noticed while walking out was some sort of ‘thing’ perched on the railing. It looked like some kind of giant bug, which is not uncommon in Florida. It was brown, and its four legs were straight, hoisting it to its full height. It was perfectly still, the kind of still that things do right before the leap. The kind of still that scares people.
The ladies stood planted and refused to pass it. They asked us if we thought it was real. My sister and I looked a little closer and, honestly, couldn’t tell. The older woman was going to poke it with her cane, the other was yelling at her not to touch it, and then we saw the two young guys again. I asked them if they knew if the ‘thing’ on the railing was real. One of them confessed that he ran and screamed when he saw it, but it wasn’t real. We had a good laugh and continued back to our beach spot, and left the two older ladies, evidently unconvinced, still deciding if they believed the guys and if the beauty of the beach was really worth the risk. I could have told them it was worth it, but I’m not sure they would have believed me.
Franklin Delano Roosevelt once told a nation in the midst of the Great Depression that,”The only thing we have to fear, is fear itself.” Franklin Delano Roosevelt was right.
Fear. It’s what we perceive to be real. What our minds tell us is true, which many times may not be real afterall. And maybe, if we think about it, it’s really not that big a deal.
” I sought the Lord, and He answered me and delivered me from all my fears.” ~Psalm 34:4
When I was little, I had a Dracula classic comic book (and a Frankenstein one, but that interested me, the Dracula one scared the snot out of me.) I kept it my room but awareness of it kept me from sleeping. I moved it around the room but that didn’t help. I know the smart thing would have been to get rid of it, but that went against every belief I had. I must have finally put it in my sister’s room or something (maybe she took it with the look of disgust that a girl who had no fear gives a boy who’s fearful). Even then I knew it was fiction, that a book couldn’t hurt me, but the graphics and story were so powerful it sank deep into my fear factor brain.
I have echoes of that monster under the bed. Here in Florida, I often sleep on top of the covers, and being tall, a foot is normally hanging off the bed. It doesn’t scare me, but I’m aware that the monster under the bed will start on that foot…