No crippling fear

Published 11:30 am Sunday, March 24, 2024

We heard it at the same time! Neither my younger sister nor I took time to ponder any questions that some might have voiced. The bedroom was dark and everything in our peaceful home was quiet. Even my sister and I were feeling our eyelids getting heavy, but now they were glaring in fear.

Without planning or suggestions, the two of us bolted from our bed, across the hall and bounded into my parents’ bed. With such an abrupt awakening, two more were added to the night’s disruptions.

In a whispered but frantic voice, I blurted, “There’s someone in our den! We heard them playing the piano!”

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I think back to that childhood moment and laugh at just how funny that must have sounded to my parents. Any would-be thief in his or her right mind would never stop to play a piano that was in an adjacent room to a bedroom of breathing occupants. But no one was laughing in this adrenaline-packed moment.

Daddy got out of bed as my sister and I sheltered with Mother. When we heard Daddy laughing, we ran to the den, knowing peace reigned in our home once again. “Here’s your monster,” Daddy said, holding our pet kitten while wisely interpreting our thoughts of a detestable creature preparing to abduct us. “Who forgot to put him outside?” was Daddy’s next question. By that time I was ready to confess to any wrongdoing, because all fear was gone.

Our pet had full roam of our home, left unguarded and free. In his inquisitive mind, he had climbed onto the keyboard of our piano and “walked a tune” in his night stroll. That night’s experience was a lesson we wouldn’t forget about putting our curious cat outside before bedtime.

It was another lesson about fear. Certainly there are fears that are a part of life that can protect us — healthy fears of harm for which we must stay on guard. (I’m never going to reach my hand into a snake pit!) Then there are those crippling fears that stunt spiritual growth and keep us focused on the “what ifs” instead of our “Who is.”

I’ve been reminded that “Fear not!” is the most repeated command in the Bible. Some scholars have said that there are 365 of those — one for each day of the year. It’s obvious that our Heavenly Father understood our weaknesses and our need to be reminded that with His love and care, crippling fear should have no residence in His children.

Letters to Camille Anding may be sent to P.O. Box 551, Brookhaven, MS 39602.