Spooky Stuff

“Fear of the dark, fear of the dark.  I have a constant fear that something’s always near.  Fear of the dark, fear of the dark.  I have a phobia that someone’s always there.  Recorded by: Iron Maiden, 1992.  Composer: Stephen Percy Harris

BOO!  Did I scare you?  Probably not.  It’s okay, my feelings aren’t hurt.  However, I do have a daughter who understands BOO really well.

Meet D’Anna, my youngest daughter.  The snapshot above was taken three years ago when she was sixteen years old.  We had dinner at one of our favorite eateries for Tex-Mex in a north Dallas, Texas suburb.  We both hadn’t been there in many years and felt the tug to go.  Just inside the front door, in the atrium, is a rather large stuffed (what I assume to be a grizzly) bear.  He stands in the corner of the entry way.  He’s certainly not to be missed as you must walk passed the bear to enter the doors to the dinning area.  When D’Anna was a little one, she was frightened by him, as most small children would be.  She would react by wanting to be held, with her face buried in my shoulder.  She would say, “Walk faster, Dad.”  She wanted us to be out of that atrium as quickly as possible.  As she got older, she would place her back to the opposite wall from the bear, never taking her eyes off of Mr. Grizzly, walking sideways until she quickly made her way to the door where the maìtre d’  was waiting.  Being a badly behaving dad, I am sure I once said, with all fear in my pipes, “I think I saw him breathe!”  (Shame on me.)

So, there we found ourselves.  Same bear, same atrium, same daughter.  This time a well-rounded, indestructible and wise teenager of the world, with her back to Mr. Grizzly.  Again, she hadn’t been there in many moons, so one of her most profound statements, one that truly spoke to me was, “Hey, he doesn’t look as big as he used to be.”  The fear obviously melted away as the giant bear was being viewed through a different lens.

Woods at night

Fast forward to March 2018, just two nights ago.  Our two dogs, Sammie and Shorty, went out into the very dark backyard to do their biz just before bedtime.  Like racehorses they took off out into the blackness of the property barking like country hunting hounds, which they’re not.   My wife Michelle, called for me to come take a look at a large black shadowy figure perched in one of our trees.  There it was, way up high, huge and ominous looking, nestled tightly by its claws on a long sprawling thick limb.  A neighborhood possum, the largest I had ever seen (possibly pregnant) came to visit, but frozen stiff in the canine calamity.  I had forgotten how, as a defensive strategy, in an involuntary response, the possum will play dead when frightened or highly anxious in a traumatic event.  I am sure there is another thirteen-letter medical term for this action, but I can pronounce, “Thanatosis”, a state resembling shock resulting in playing dead.  Frankly, I felt badly for the mammoth marsupial clinging to our tree.  In many ways, it reminded me of myself.

In May, I will turn 58 years old, yet I feel as if I have lived three or four lifetimes.  I have lived through incredible tragedies, traumas and turmoils.  My life was forced into a horrific near death experience (Read my post from mid February.)  There have been abuses suffered in every aspect.  Unexpected health crashes are part of the maze, including a quadruple bypass performed this past December.  A novel could be written of the countless trials, tortures and troubles.  All of which could have ended my mental health, and/or my very life, like a road running out of pavement.  There’s a great possibility I may be the poster child for survival training.  Maybe I should teach a course on the subject.  Yet, I hear the lyrics from Kelly Clarkson’s hit, “Stronger” and wonder why I didn’t write the following section of the song…

“What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.  Stand a little taller…What doesn’t kill you makes a fighter.  Footsteps even lighter…”

Stairs in Savana seawall

The lyrics sound appropriate, and even true, but alas, I am a little girl staring at a stuffed grizzly, or a frozen possum in a tree.  Even though those in the know say about 98% of what we worry about never happens, I must admit it doesn’t help.  Fear overtakes my steps forward too many times.  After the old ship gets a constant beating against its thinning hull, the anxiousness of launching again can override the euphoric adventures of what lies beneath, or around the darkened corner, or down a flight of stairs to a mysterious place.  In recent years I find I tend to freeze.  It’s funny really, I used to be the opposite when I was younger, before the tsunamis ravaged my landscape. How is it I was once known as the brave warrior with sword drawn, leading the charge, forging off into the blackened thicket of things?  How is it I was the kickboxer unafraid of the next punch or shin across the rib-cage from a world contender?  Where are those days?


In essence, I just spelled out my worldview, my fleshly camera angle with the warped lens through which I tend to filter.  However, I do have another view that is detached from my human knee-jerk reactions to the stuffed grizzly and barking pack in the velvet night.  The view, through my very spirit, that part of me that will never die, outlasting all things I consider mine: my body, my brain, my health.  It is that boundless, reconstructed and renewed spiritual center of my DNA I must default to when the “BOO” in life causes me to grab the nearest tree limb.  There is where I find the “hidden Person of the heart” (1 Peter 3:4).  It’s Twila Paris’ old song spells it out, “The Warrior is a Child”.

It is to be God’s grip, not mine.

After all, the grizzly standing in the opposite corner really is smaller than when I first met him.  When there are bear tracks in the dark, it’s best to be lit with fuel for the race.

“For God has not given us a spirit of timidity, but of power and love and discipline.” – Paul from, 2 Timothy 1:7. (NAS)


3 Replies to “Spooky Stuff”

  1. In our younger days I think you were physically stronger, but in those days you were mentally strong as well. You were a real go getter in those days and a strong minded when it came to our music days. I still see you as a strong man, even stronger than the days of old. I think if you would not have had the physical and mental training back then, well you may have not made the journey of life this far! You are stronger mentally today than you ever were since I have known you. By the way, those stone stairs are at River St. In Savannah Ga. They are called the stairs of death by the locals. The stones that make up the street are old ship ballast that were removed from the ships as they were being loaded. Brotherly love my friend. You are continually in my prayers . Stay strong!

    Liked by 1 person

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