Often times, we may hide our fear by preaching intolerance. We are intolerant - we fear - what we do not understand. What we are not familiar with.
It reminds me of the story that Brother Chuck Nettestad recently published in his Peace in Alexandria Newsletter. (Write to firstname.lastname@example.org if you are interested in subscribing to this very interesting weekly think-piece.)
So, next time you feel your intolerance building - as it does in each of us - shine a little light on it.
Most parents have had some experience with kids waking up with bad dreams at some point or another. If not bad dreams, then surely every parent has had to deal with invisible monsters hiding in the closet or under the bed.
Recently my wife and I had a bout with our oldest son waking us out of the comfort of our warm bed to come into his room and scare off something that was fear itself.
It was three in the morning and even though it can be the sweetest word on earth when you get home from work, it is not so sweet when heard at three in the morning: "Daddy"
I came into my son's room to see what the problem was. The first time it was, "I think I saw something." The second time it was, "I think I heard something." The third time it was, "I'm just scared."
I had to get up early in the morning and go to work. I am a very patient man but my sleepiness was wearing my patience down. The wee hours of the morning had me delirious so I warned him, "If you call me one more time, I'm going to give you something to be afraid of." Two minutes later: "Daddy"
I came into the room and staying true to my promise, even though it hurt my heart to do so, I gave him a tap on the leg; after all, I had to get some sleep. Walking back to my bed like a weary victor of war, I said, "It wasn't easy but that took care of that." Five minutes later. "Daddy"
I lay in bed for a while at my wit's end on what to do, I had given up.
I knew that if I went and slept in his room with him he would want me to do it every night that he felt fear. I laid there basking in a feeling of stripped victory.
In the stillness of the night, a light popped on in my head.
It was a literal light. I saw a picture in my head of a flashlight.
I immediately got out of bed, went to the hall closet, got the flashlight out and took it to my son's room. I handed it to him and told him "Light has a special power to make monsters go away, when you think you see or hear something just cut the light on and shine it in that direction and whatever it is will have to go away."
I went back and got into bed with apprehensiveness against getting to sleep too soundly. I listened for about five minutes then I saw a circle of light shining in my son's room. I waited for that demanding title of "Daddy," but all I heard was the stillness of the night.
This same principle is true in the lives of adults. Many times, we are afraid of that which can really do us no harm.
Our flashlight can be knowledge; most of the time we fear what we don't understand. As we become more enlightened on something that seems scary, peace will come.
The light doesn't really chase away monsters living in the shadows, it just changes our eyesight to see that the room, the business, the school, the marriage, and the assignment is not as scary as it looked without the light on.
Whatever you are afraid of, shine some light on it.
~ James Bronner ~