When I was small
even smaller than this
all smiles, fine hair, and freckles.
I lived in a room with my little sis.
 
In that room was a window
looking out on an old maple tree bigger than God
whose leaves made me feel free enough to sing
at the top of my lungs.
 
But on the opposite side of my room hung a door
a wooden shutter, slatted and white
and that door haunted us every single night.
 
You remember those cracked closet doors,
that fear of childhood, right?
Well, mine was more evil than most
a shutter-door with one missing shingle
a pitch black rectangle of terror
waiting to host the glowing eyes of some child-eating monster
with a taste for freckles.
 
And with these thoughts, came FEAR.
Fear that freezes your bones
that makes your body turn to stone
on the inside but never enough on the outside.
Fear that takes today as ransom
for a kidnapped tomorrow that will never come home.
 
So after months of sleepless nights
I could not hide any longer.
I did the most courageous thing of my little life
I moved in with my monsters.
 
In a flurry of determination
I grabbed my pillows and blankets and books
a flashlight and my sister
and we moved into that dark closet.
 
Slept there every single night
and not ONE monster was ever brave enough to show His face.
 
This is when I learned:
Fear is a lion
that only backs down
when we stop acting like prey
and stand our ground.
 
But we do grow up
and the monsters
get darker and smarter
and the next thing we know
we are running much harder.
No longer daring to face down our fears but away
from the beasts who will swallow us whole
who make closets that scare our very souls.

Monsters: like betrayal, hair loss, loneliness, and grief
failure, sprained ankles, botched interviews, and spinach in our teeth
at just the worst times.
 
I am afraid […]