Monsters lurk under the bed, in the closet, in my head. Fear has guided my steps for years, tiptoeing around the terrifying memory beasts that threaten to pull me under, away. Some I have managed to slay, the biggest ones, the horrible one-eyed demons that bring back childhood trauma. Still, the monsters who remain are sneakier, relentless. They roam and wander but never go far, awaiting an opportunity when I am vulnerable or tired, when I am a bit unsure or the day has been rough. These monsters deliver self-doubt, they coat me with shame, they whisper “you are not good enough” in my dreams. I know these monsters have gathered again to slink under my defenses when I become nervous, when my anxiety replaces peace. I know I have let them charge through when I begin to ruminate on what others say instead of listening to my own voice. The monsters laugh delightedly as I question, as I wonder, as I look for them instead of remembering that I Am A CHILD OF GOD. I begin to chant, “Monsters have no place here.”
Plum and I read a book of scary stories before bed last night, a fitting ending to a really yuck day. I never read spooky tales to him, we don’t even own any, aside from the Harry Potter series, but that is scary with purpose. Still, I picked up this little book at our church book fair and knew it was a light version of ghost stores, which Plum has been asking me about recently. So we snuggled in after a long day and sought some monsters. We found them to be funny, we knew that behind each effort to frighten us was just a misunderstood prop. While I worried that these tales may grow bigger with his imagination, that I might find his sleep disturbed, our household wakened by his night fears, he slept peacefully. He knew those monsters were silly, he knew he was safe. Before he fell asleep, he shared a story about two children from his evening class who had a disagreement. One child was not nice to the other. I asked who he thought we should tell when that happens. I was prompting for an answer “the teacher.” My wise Plum said, “God.” We told God about the situation, asked God to remind us to watch our words and behavior, to help us not be mean and to guide us in telling a safe adult when we witness others who aren’t playing nicely. Satisfied, he then told me Miss S handled it. He still wanted some God back up. I don’t have to climb a far mountain to get my deep teachings, just snuggle in for sleepy chatter with this kid who explains the inner workings of God to me.
I have some monsters tailing me, knocking about, I can hear them. They want to steal my voice, they want my peace. These tiny little villains want me to believe they are dragons, giants, fierce horrors. Really, they are echoes of the past, they only make sound if I listen. They only breathe if I give them air. They are props in a story meant to undermine my more, meant to confuse me into becoming less less less until I am a shadow and they run freely through my soul. Yesterday I cowered to my monsters, I allowed words to twist me into knots. I slunk away, I retreated. But the monsters didn’t know my arsenal is stocked, I have better resources now. I can rely on discerning friends who stop the ruminating and sort out the knots, help clarify the real battle and help me walk away from what doesn’t require a fight.
Today I will rise again, I will use my voice again, I will remember that my gift is from God. The autopsy shows the dragon I destroyed was only a wee chameleon, nothing to fear. A mere prop that comes with reminders that not only can I fight back, I can put some doors on the closet, I can sweep under the bed. I can control the boundaries and say no thank you when the monsters come knocking. Shame, you are not welcome here. I AM A CHILD OF GOD. My no’s will be more frequent in the future, I realize I must create some distance between monster zones and myself. I’m not on a monster hunt, just cleaning house a bit and chanting as I go about it, “Monsters have no place here.”