THE BOOGEY MAN: Is He Under Your Bed?
By Sally Tippett Rains
As a child, the term “boogey man” was used for something unknown that might be lurking around to “get you.” The boogey man might be following me home if I was walking home from a friend’s house and it was dark or the boogey man might be hiding under my bed if I was scared.
Mom and Dad would say “there’s nothing under your bed” and always assured us there was nothing to be afraid of, “it’s going to be ok.” But as the years go on, the fear of the unknown can take on different shapes.
The boogey man can be our fear of the unknown, our worries about our children or other loved ones, a health crisis we are facing, the coronavirus, or someone who we perceive to be “against” us whether through social media or just their actions.
When our kids were young we lived in the Washington, D.C. area, we took a Sunday drive to the nearby Shenandoah Valley. The views were amazing and then we ran into a National Park with an overnight log cabin lodge. An unexpected adventure we had not planned for.
It was such a wonderful surprise we decided to spend the night and get up at 5 a.m. to get the kids back for school on Monday morning. The next morning, we drove in the mountains as the sun was just rising and we were rewarded: who should we see trying to cross the street in front of us but a mother Black Bear and her three little cubs. None of us will ever forget that wonderful moment. How lucky were we that we just happened to be there at that exact moment?
Fast forward to a few years later when my sister Nancy asked me to go with her on a trip to the Colorado mountains and hike up to a family cabin to stay with no electricity, just the beauty of the mountains. Instead of jumping on it, I thought of all that could go wrong—including running into a bear or two on the way up. When I saw the bears from the safety of my car it was exciting, but now the thought of seeing bears in the wilderness was a bad thing. My fear of something that might not even happen got the best of me and I offered to pay for an air-conditioned condo in Florida for our trip.
During the recent racial unrest, I saw a meme where a parent was saying good night to their child and the child asked if “someone” was under the bed. Depending on your frame of reference, you can have your own imagination of who the child was afraid of seeing under the bed. It was sad and the worst was the parent didn’t offer help.
Sometimes we are left to figure things out for ourselves.
Here’s the story of something that happened to James Naismith—the guy who invented the game of Basketball—when he was young. He was walking home through the woods with his sister and a mother bear with two cubs started up behind them.
“My sister, being older than I, could outrun me and she kept turning around and calling out ‘run Jim, they are just behind you.’ I ran the best I could,” Naismith said. “not because I was afraid of what the bear would do to me, but I did not want her to chew up my new boots.”
The bear finally stopped following him but he walked home in fear that the bear would get him—and his new boots. Several years later when he was older and a little wiser, something else happened.
He though he saw a bear in the moonlight and instead of running, he picked up a stone and as he did he prayed to God to help him, to give him courage.
“I marched ahead determined to throw the stone and give a terrible yell. As I approached the animal, I saw that it was a white cow with a great black spot on her side. I breathed a sigh of relief and went on home. I have often wondered if the Lord gave me courage to go ahead and find out that it was really a cow; or if in answer to my prayer, He changed the bear into a cow.”
Remember, that just as in the John Lennon song, where he says “the monster’s gone… you’re daddy’s here”– your Heavenly Father is always here for you. Find your strength through Him.
What’s it going to be for you this week? Is the bear you are facing going to make you weak and afraid, or are you going to boldly step up with a proverbial stone in your hand and a prayer in your heart to face it head on?
You never know, it might not be a bear (or a boogey man) after all; it might just be a cow. Or even if it is a bear, get yourself to a safe place where you can look back on it and find some blessings.
Now go out and face the bears. You can do it. Choose Happy.
Bible Verse- Philippians 4: 6-8
“Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which passes all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
“Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, dwell on these things. The things you have learned and received and heard and seen in me, practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you.”
“One of the greatest discoveries a man makes, one of his great surprises, is to find he can do what he was afraid he couldn’t do.”
— Henry Ford
Think of what your biggest “bear” or “boogeyman” is and figure out how you will conquer it this week. Be brave, you can do it.
One Last Thought
I saw this quote by Rudyard Kipling. It is sort of old fashioned wording, so you may need to read it twice, but it really has a great message:
“When a resolute young fellow steps up to the great bully–the world– and takes him boldly by the beard, he is often surprised to find it comes off in his hand, and that it was only tied on to scare away the timid adventurers.” — Ralph Waldo Emerson
What if the thing you are most afraid of does not exist, or is not going to happen? Keep hope alive in your heart to help scare off the fear of the unknown. Hope is the way we survive the really bad days.
Sally Tippett Rains is the author of “Choose Happy; Find Contentment in Any Situation” and is the volunteer executive director of Rainbows for Kids. She is also the content manager for STLSportsPage.com.