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Night Thinker

#Lesson: Face your Fear

As a young child, a favorite person passed away, leaving me with a longtime visitor called the “Night Thinker”. The Night Thinker started to make scattered appearances after her passing. It happened as I would lay in my bed at night watching lively shadows dance across the ceiling as moonbeams streamed through my bedroom window. My imagination running wild as to who or what could be in the room with me. Thoughts about spirits of the afterlife would bounce around in my mind, as I pondered my soul existence. As I thought far too much about what happened to people as they passed away, wondering inconclusively whether deceased relatives had come back to harm me or just watch over me while I slept.

I was in the third grade, when I began to suspect that there was more to life than what we could physically see. Always being intrigued by the idea of some other energetic presence harbored in our existence, and my intuition told me that there was more than what the naked eye could see. It would be in the middle of the night when these unnamed spirits seemed to make their existence known.

I often wondered why I was the only one awake in the house at the time, when I should have been sleeping. Hearing sounds of my other family members coming from the rooms on the other side of our home, confirming that they were in their own personal dreamlands.

Lying in the bed with covers pulled tightly up close to my chin, I would lay motionless in the still of the night. The moonlight would sometimes afford me the ability to peer at the closet door, to see if something would pop out to appear at the bottom of my bed. I am pretty sure that I thought that the bogeyman lived in my closet. Laying frozen with fear in my bed for what seemed like hours, until I could finally muster the courage to throw off my covers, and escape from my bed to run down the hall to my sister May’s bedroom. She was only a short distance away, but it seemed like miles to get to the safety of her room.

Once there, I would try and make my way into her bed, attempting to push her aside in order to find the comfort of knowing someone else was with me. Sometimes, she would let me slide in beside her and other times, I would be shooed away. With no other option, but to just lay on the floor beside her bed with my pillow that I carried with me. Too afraid to go back to my own room to face what may be lurking there.

My sister, May, my Irish twin did not make facing my fears any easier, as she would share scary bedtime stories with me about a creature called, “Bloody Red Bones” from the comfort of her bed. The scary story to be heard down the hall and into my room. Adding to the story with all the dramatic noises one would expect to play off of my fear. I was sure that “Bloody Red Bones” was on his way to my room to get me.

My father, a man with a very calm demeanor, would seat himself every evening at the bottom of the second-floor stairwell that led to our bedrooms, he was within perfect earshot of all the spooky theatrics taking place on the second floor. Typically, a man of good humor, he did not take kindly to the fact that we were up acting out, while we should have been sleeping in preparation for our school day. Letting are drama only go so far, prior to making his appearance to scold us and settle us down. I usually received the brunt of my father’s anger, even though May, was the instigator. I was the oldest of the two of us, and May would usually just laugh about the arrival of our father, while I got the scolding.

On most evenings, it was just words, but one particular evening my father was making his way to the top of the steps, while I was making my way down the steps, as May’s tales had set off my fear and I went scurrying out of my bedroom to head downstairs for some comfort from my parents.

My father and I collided on the stairwell and in the heat of the commotion, my father reaching his boiling point, shook me angrily and asked me why I was so frightened. It was clearly evident that he did not understand my concerns and worries. Most of all, he did not understand my fear. He shook me hard and told me that all my silliness needed to stop. I thought for sure that my father and I were both going to tumble down the stairwell that evening. Of course, my sister was laying in her bed finding the whole situation to be funny, as it was so rare to see our father get noticeably angry about much of anything. May also received some words of wisdom that particular evening from my father. My sister and I still laugh about this incident when we visit with each other, and of course, Bloody Red Bones still gets a mention. That was the end of the night-time ghost stories in our household.

Despite the end of the ghost stories, that did not stop the visits from the Night Thinker. Throughout the course of living under my parent’s roof, I would frequently change the location of my bedroom. Living in a large home and the exit of my older brothers, left me with options to choose from. Upon a whim, and certainly annoying both of my parents, I would move my bed and belongings from room to room. I never really seemed to find a space that I was completely comfortable with.

The Night Thinker has been with me my entire life, from early childhood to the present. As an adult, Night Thinker comes to me at the most inconvenient of times, arriving to help me solve the problems of the world and sometimes even replays the most trivial moments of the day. A constant churning of the mind, with the should of, could of, and would have done moments of the day. The Night Thinker has kept me awake periodically throughout my life to think about work, school, relationships and anything in between. If there is an important meeting or event to happen the following day, I am most certain that night thinker will make an appearance to see to it that I do not get a good night of rest.

The Night Thinker also brings concerns about pandemics, riots, nuclear holocaust, food shortages, environmental concerns, plus he may bring to mind any wrongdoings that I may have innocently perpetrated on any given day. An error in judgment, or an offensive remark, probably so insignificant to most, but certainly not to me, as those skeletons may cost me my entrance through the pearly gates, or the creation of karma that I will need to work out in another life.

The Night Thinker is not usually a welcome guest, but it is not always a negative, as I have had some of my best ideas coincide with a visit. I have been amazed by mystical moments when I have solved a problem, written something worthwhile in a journal, or thought of a new way of doing something. Thoughts and ideas can magically appear in the midst of Night Thinker moment. I usually take the occasion to jot it down so as not to lose what needs to be conveyed.

Over the years, I have periodically prayed that the Night Thinker would go away and leave me alone. I have since learned how to make peace with the Night Thinker, my assassin of sleep, because after all, I created him.

Photo by Roberto Nickson on Pexels.com

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