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Is fear of the dark a universal battle?

Is it a universal fear that all children must battle or is it only in my realm of experience?

I’m talking about fear of the darkness. It’s actually fear of what’s lurking in the darkness.

I don’t remember any one instance or experience that brought me to that threatening challenge, but I know I was always grateful for a younger sister to share a bedroom. At least there would be a witness to my being carried off by the night monsters.

My darkness phobia passed with childhood, but I still recall never wanting to let a foot or hand hang over the side of my bed. The monsters that hid under my bed were just waiting for one of my limbs to snatch and pull me away. No one had to tell me that’s what would happen. I just knew that it would.

The moon may be a nightlight for lovers, but it’s a shadow-maker for children. A night breeze and a full moon were partners in throwing shadows of tree branches onto our bedroom wall — or was that a creeping monster moving through the trees toward our bedroom window? The morning sun always exposed the absurdity of my fears, but the following night would only recreate them.

Closet lights and bedside nightlights were a quick remedy for a while, but their lights had limits. It was beyond those dim lights, down the dark hall or beyond our bedroom door that concerned me. Now I would see the monsters approaching and what could be worse in a single-door-exit situation?

My parents always brushed aside the idea of unwanted visitors in the darkness. Their room was just across the hall, and I knew they would protect me and my siblings — when they were awake. They were never concerned that monsters wore sneaky shoes and could skulk in without any noise. How could any sleeping parents fight off monsters?

Just this week I was reading a verse in 1 Thessalonians that brought back memories of night fears. It was a comforting verse for todays “dark” times — a reminder of who God’s children are: “For you are all children of light, children of the day. We are not of the night or of the darkness.” Amen to that. The verse has preaching power for all ages because I have found the main benefit for darkness is to magnify the joys of light.

Letters to Camille Anding can be sent to P.O. Box 551, Brookhaven, MS, 39602, or e-mailed to camille@datalane.net.