Wednesday, January 9, 2013

On Presence as Peace in the Darkness

Sorry, I know it has been a while. The holidays were pretty crazy, but we all survived. I figured it was probably just about time for me to hop back in the saddle, so here's my monthly contribution to A Deeper Family.

“Dad, I don’t want you to go. I’m just so scared of the darkness…”

This is a common refrain at bedtime with the eldest.

Part of it, I’m sure, is just his little way of trying to manipulate me into staying with him just a little bit longer. Most times, he’s successful. I’ll admit, I’m essentially powerless when he looks up at me with those big, brown doe eyes (his mom’s eyes – and yes, I’m equally powerless against her). But part of it is a genuine fear.

Now, I understand that this is a somewhat normal phase that most (if not all) kids go through at some point in their development, but that knowledge doesn’t make things any easier in the moment. As his dad, all I want to do is make it OK, so I try to tell him that there’s nothing to be scared of. I tell him the monsters in his dreams aren’t real, that mommy and daddy are right down the hall, that God made the dark just the same as the light and it’s nothing to be scared of, but none of that really seems to calm him. Even as I’m telling him, I can see the reflection of the nightlight in those big brown eyes. They seem to dart from object to object around the room, hyper-aware of every shadow.
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