Monsters in dark corners?
Don't Go There!
© Betty Sue Eaton
Claretta was just finishing the school year when she drowned during a school outing by a
nearby stock pond. In all the horse play after romping in the cold water, she was playfully
pushed back into the pond where she drowned. She was eleven years old and the only
daughter of my sister.  Pauline was an excellent seamstress and Claretta always had
beautiful school clothes. Thinking of my Paula who was nine at the time, Pauline gave her
Claretta's entire wardrobe for the next school year.

Two years later, Paula was struck down by a car. My first thought was to pass her clothes on
to Debbie, my younger sister's only daughter who was nine at the time of Paula's death. But I
stopped short of completing the act that I'm certain would have greatly benefited Debbie, as
her Mom was trying to raise Debbie and her brother, Mike, as a single parent.

I finally found a little girl at a foster home  who needed clothing, and on condition that I never
meet her, donated all of Paula's clothes to her. Unfortunately, she was ill the day I took them
out to the ranch; and at the housemother's insistence, I was introduced to her. I was
devastated that I might cause yet another little girl's death.

Why did I feel that somehow I was responsible? Was that bizarre behavior? You bet it was!  I
was faced with an old bugaboo: Fear Phobia! What is that? In my case, it was the rationale
that the clothing given to Paula might have cost her life, ergo, if I gave the clothing to Debbie,
I might have cost her life as well. Finally, if I didn't know who would receive the clothing, I
wouldn't cause any more grief! I just couldn't bring myself to risk it!  Silly you may say and I
agree, and to be very sure it is more insane than silly.

Long after suffering the loss of a loved one, after we have begun to live again with a
semblance of normalcy, old fears can jump out of the dark recesses of our minds and render
us totally paralyzed with dread. We are hard put trying to name them, but they are as real as
our loss years before. Waking suddenly in the middle of the night with a feeling of impending
doom;  with heart pounding that shakes our sweat-drenched body with a sense of imminent
tragedy! We can't explain even to ourselves what this dreadful feeling is: Fear!  But fear of
what? That's the crux of the question. It is just a fear that SOMETHING is going to happen,
and it is a phobia resulting from the close association of past events that makes us feel that it
is   foreshadowing a future event based on the same set of circumstances with the same
result.  Fear Phobia.

One of the stages of grieving we must go through is guilt. It includes many personifications
and one is fear phobia. What causes this condition to manifest itself is associating one tragic
event with another in a cause-effect relationship. One such association might be like the
following example. You might be having a great time out with your loved one at a fabulous
dinner or show, and suddenly, he or she is taken from you. Time passes and slowly you
have gone through the initial stages of shock and grief and are somewhat recovering.  
Another occasion arises to go to that restaurant for dinner with anticipation of a great time or
that show and an evening out again looking forward to a wonderful time. But suddenly, the
situation reminds you of conditions leading up to the death of your loved one and for some
unknown reason you are afraid to participate in the festivities. Fear Phobia! This is a very
simplistic example, but when compounded by multiple events associated with each other in
the mind of the participant, it can become paralyzing!

When we analyze this, isn't it preposterous that we could claim the power over life and death
just by our own decisions or past experiences? Isn't it ridiculous to feel that we are as
powerful as God in the power of life or death of others? Of course, but that is what phobias
do to us. Phobias are unreasonable fears without explanation. They can best be described
as a feeling of extreme anxiety in certain situations. They can be classified as superstitions,
like black cats, Friday 13th, walking under a ladder or breaking a mirror. Fear phobia is just
as ridiculous and must be put aside as just another superstition.

When faced with fear phobia, we need to go to the Lord to give us the strength to put the
fear aside and rely on Him alone to deal with it. Then we can go about our lives without fear
and enjoy the friends and relatives who are close by and who love and support us with all
their hearts. Phobias live in the dark corners of our minds and we must never allow ourselves
to be pulled into those corners no matter what!  What a wonderful thing to live in the
sunshine of our Father in Heaven!


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