Red. White. Blue. Brown, gray and orange. Articles of clothing carefully landed in their designated piles as I evaluated how I could condense these items in to smaller loads, carefully making certain to avoid placing a red item in the white pile. As I meticulously unloaded the laundry baskets before me, I heard two high pitched shrieks intensifying in volume as they neared me. My boys love to scream when playing, and while other parents would instantly rush to their children’s sides, I knew by the nature of these shrieks that my sons were engaging in another high volume game.
I was certainly surprised when my two little boys, pint sized versions of my husband and myself respectively, stood before me, their blonde hair sparkling with perspiration and their hazel eyes wide with fear. As my toddler glanced at his brother, words tumbled from my six year old like a faucet that had been turned on too rapidly, a series of letters falling from his lips in to my ears.
“The bathroom mirror is SCARY” he whispered, his brother nodding in affirmation. My toddler pointed to the bathroom directly across the hallway from our laundry room, within my viewing distance. The light in the bathroom was currently off, casting the area in shadows and from a child’s perspective, paralyzing fear.
I knelt to be at equal height with my boys, gazing in to each of their faces intently as I asked, my voice softened to soothe their anxiety, “What’s so scary about it bud?”
In complete seriousness, my six year old looked at me and stated, “There are monsters. It’s scary, and it’s dark, and it looks like that creepy movie.” He didn’t remember which movie had inspired him to be terrified of dark spaces, but he was convinced that our bathroom was now the subject of that scary movie.
I looked at him, and then his brother, both overcome by the fear that the darkness had inspired, and then grabbed each of their hands. We stood, and I brought them to the bathroom, feeling as their bodies noticeably trembled through their hands. I let go for a moment, moving the light switch to an on position and we watched as light flooded the room. ” See guys? There’s nothing to be afraid of. It’s not scary, when the light is on.” I then pointed out the many objects that could take on a different form when shadowed, and the boys nodded, their bodies easing as we discussed how light can alter our perception.
I think sometimes, that even as adults, we are transformed in to the children of our past, paralyzed by the fear of new situations and terrified of the darkness. Perhaps an event within our life has caused us to become negative, and we have become so engulfed in the dark feelings that this event produces that we forget to turn on the light. We see the objects of our lives masked in the shadows of disappointment, or stress, or negativity, and we forget that in the light of day, these very same objects take on a different form.
Life does not come equipped with a manual, or a clear destination. We are constantly finding our way through our journey, facing disappointment and other obstacles as we write the story of our lives. But on these travels, if we stop for too long to dwell on the ways in which life did not go as planned, we can be terrified, like my children, stopped by the fear of the unknown.
I urge you friends, to focus on those positive aspects of your life that make the negative portions more dim. Whenever the fear overwhelms you, friend, don’t forget to turn on the light.
It’s not as scary there.