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Issue of October 22, 2014

A hope note
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A hope note
Dr. Wayne Willis reflects on life and hope.

Not always good night

September 25, 2013 | 09:47 AM

"From goulies and ghosties and long-leggedy beasties/And things that go bump in the night/

O' Lord, deliver us!"


This old Cornish prayer still resonates with little children. They fear monsters under the bed or in the closet, not so much in broad daylight as in the night.

A friend told me about an experience she had with her 5-year-old granddaughter as they were getting ready for bed. The little girl said, as she closed the bedroom door, "We are not afraid." Grandmother inquired, "We are not afraid of what?" The answer came matter-of-factly, "Monsters!"

Grandmother asked if there were any in the room, and she said no. Grandmother asked, if they came, where they would enter, and she said through the closet (which she probably got from watching a movie in which monsters entered through a closet).

The wise grandmother agreed that "we are not afraid" and then comforted her further with these comments: 1.Your grandfather and I do not allow monsters in our house. 2. We live in a strong, brick house 3. You are a brave little girl who could yell, "Go away, Monsters!" 4. Your dog would protect you. 5. There is no door from the closet to outside the house.

Things are scarier in the dark for us adults, too. Juan Gabriel Vasquez wrote in "The Sound of Things Falling," "Thinking in the darkness is not advisable; things seem bigger or more serious in the darkness, illnesses more destructive, the presence of evil closer, indifference more intense, solitude more profound."

I would guess that half the scariness of night relates to solitude. The opening story in the Bible declares, "It is not good for this person to be alone." We all need others, as Kris Kristofferson put it, to help us "make it through the night."

Dr. Wayne Willis


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