"Do now, do now, what you will wish to have done when your moment comes to die." [St. Angela Merici]

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

When Monsters Hide in Broad Daylight

By Micky Wolf

“Mommy, make sure there’s no monsters under the bed!” How many parents have heard that plaintive cry from a little one, frightened through and through at the prospect of what might be “lurking in the shadows or hiding in the dark.”

In some ways, these imagined terrors are easier to live with, especially if the child is blessed to have caregivers who manage to convince them they have banished the nasties from the bedside, top or beneath.

It is when we become adults that we realize monsters may, in fact, exist. Just not in the form we envisioned as children. These unsavory presences often meld with the landscape of our lives in such a way we may not see them for what they really are—or understand the negative impact they have on daily life.

In that light, pun intended, ponder those things that unsettle you. The issues or concerns that may nag about the edges of your day.

Fear…of just about anything, or anyone, for any of a multitude of reasons you believe make sense. All of which assures you will stop dead in your tracks—or resist taking even the first step in the journey of your own unique life.

Anger…with the slightest interruption by a person or an event you view as an unwelcome, personally-directed intrusion on your plans or schedule. A sure prescription for becoming the crabby one in the room.

Impatience. Over the time it takes to accomplish anything, complete a task, or drive from one place to another. Like a mosquito on the hunt, you zero in and sink your incisors on the first available target you deem is responsible for putting the brakes on things.

Judgment. This one may be among the sneakiest of the monster menagerie. If it can convince us it is in our best interest to decide who and what is right or wrong, good or bad, better or worse (and the list goes on and on) we can spend a great deal of our waking hours allowing it to inhabit our breathing space.

Some monsters come in colors. Think envy and green. Others come with sounds. Think hate and screams of violence. Still others trigger scents or smell. Think greed and the stench of a landfill.

And then there’s the one we may come to recognize as the most dangerous.

Indifference. We choose to ignore this one at our own peril. On the other hand, that would be its modus operandi. The monster known as indifference thrives on our willingness to be complacent, to pay little or no attention to the needs and concerns of other people.

The fuel that feeds indifference is often the fodder found in the habits and patterns we accumulate over time. Not that structure and repetition aren’t a good thing. It’s when the carrying out of those rituals or routines becomes more important than the purpose for which they were intended. My hungry neighbor may appreciate my prayers. Inviting him for a meal will be a blessing far greater than any word that comes out of my mouth.

It’s interesting that many children often refer to monsters, plural, rather than monster, singular. Wild imaginings or not, they seem to sense these scary beings travel together.

And that could well be said of the monsters we encounter as adults.

Any of those on the aforementioned list—to which you could add many more of your own—lurk about in pairs or more. As the saying goes, like attracts like.

Fear feeds anger, which may be depending on judgment and indifference to help maintain the necessary mix of dark, unpleasant, mix of toxic ingredients to keep us from focusing on what is truly important.

Love. Loving God first, and others, as self.

Most of us learn, all too soon, that monsters do indeed inhabit our world.

Being willing to see them for what they are will go a long way toward exposing and diffusing the hurt or pain they may cause. And that’s true whether it’s the middle of the darkest night. Or high noon of the brightest day.


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