I can catch a moth in my hands and carry it fluttering, outside and release it to the air.
I can look straight at a mouse and coax it towards the door with a soft broom.
But if there’s a bird caught inside…. if it accidentally flew in the open door and can’t find an exit; you’re on your own people. I will run and I will hide.
My friend lives in Qld, so there are toads out there. You can hear them at night, almost singing. But she won’t go out there coz they’re squishy and slimy and best avoided altogether.
Another friend, driving home from a wonderful time at a wedding in Daylesford was so thrilled to NOT drive over the Westgate bridge. That detour put quite a spring in her step. I asked her about it.
“They’re too high, they’re too long. You have to stay in the middle coz you might fall off the edge in those outer lanes.”
That makes sense, for a fear. Avoid it, stay away from it, pretend it doesn’t exist.
Other than birds, my biggest fear used to the dark. As fears go, it’s common but entirely irrational.
For many of my childhood, teenage and even adult years I had to sleep with a light on. It could be in the hall, the bedside, ensuite, just leave a light on because I was totally and utterly frightened of the dark. As I got older, I tried to be brave. I tried to have faith. I prayed, I prayed hard. Please God, take away my fear. Please don’t let me be frightened in the dark. I tried to rise above my fear. Terrified I would walk from the kitchen to my bedroom, down the hall, with the light off, praying God would help me not be afraid. I would get to my bedroom, crippled with fear and in utter dismay that God didn’t ‘magic’ my feelings or physical reaction to those feelings away. Please bare with me, my faith in a genie type magic God has since grown into a robust, life is hard, shit is real but I am a believer all the same, kind of faith.
I remember this particular night so well. The whole house was dark. I was alone, sitting on my bed begging God to make me brave and not scared of the dark. And I heard or I felt or sensed (however you want to think of it, for me, I heard) a voice say, “Turn on the light.”
In that moment, I thought that it was so wrong that I defiantly said that I wouldn’t give in. I would have faith. I heard it again, only this time, the words were sweet and kind, even fatherly. Yes I know, Fatherly, I get it. All very God-ish. But truly, I heard, “Sair, turn on the light. It’s ok, turn it on.”
And so I did it. I know, such a simple thing. I turned on the light. The darkness vanished and so did my fear.
It might seem hard to believe but from that night on I was no longer afraid of the dark. I guess I think of it as a miracle but also a life lesson. If the thing we fear is in the dark, turn on the light!
I really can be in the dark now. I can walk the length of hallway in the dark. I even make sure all the lights are OFF before I go to bed. I can’t explain how the change happened I just know that I had permission. Whether by faith or by imagination, I had permission to turn on the light when I was scared. Being afraid and having faith were not mutually exclusive. I think I used to think they were.
What else is hiding in the dark? What is not spoken of? I want to explore this. As a writer and as a person.
So as I continue in my blog writing, I look forward to bringing more ideas, issues and fears into the light so I can still be brave.