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Sunday, February 10, 2019

Handling our hang-ups


Joyce Sasse -
We all have a hang-up or two – something that causes a tremor of fear. Something we try to avoid.  One of mine is claustrophobia. That’s why I like to share the story of “Franklin in the Dark” with my youngest friends. Franklin learns about his fear and figures out how to handle it.  In this story he is afraid of small dark spaces. That is a particular problem because Franklin is a turtle. His small dark shell is his home, but he has to drag it behind him.

His mother kept saying “there’s nothing to be afraid of”… so Franklin decided to seek help. It seemed, however, that everyone he asked had their own secret hang-up. When no-one was looking “duck” used water-wings, “lion” wore ear muffs, “bird” carried a parachute and “polar bear” wore a snow suite to bed.

Even Franklin’s mother confessed, when he came home very late, that she was afraid he was lost!

Franklin thought and thought about what he had learned. After a hot supper and a warm hug, it was time to go to bed. He had readied himself. He slowly crawled in to the small dark space that was his shell. After a brave “good night”, he reached up … and TURNED ON HIS NIGHT-LIGHT!

Wisdom can be found in the simplest of stories. This one can be a helpful reminder. Think of the introverted person who can never give a quick answer, or the extroverted person who is afraid of silence when in the company of others ... Think of the night owl who has to be at work at 6 AM, or the morning bird who can’t function after 8 PM ... Think of the oldster or the youngster who both share fears about bladder control … Hang-ups come in many ways.

The story is a reminder that it helps when we begin to name our fears and talk about them with others. Repeatedly we’ll find we aren’t the only ones who have fears. What are others trying to do? What might I try? Our fear can be the monster that controls our life, or it can be something we learn to manage.

The saying on my fridge reads “be kinder that necessary because everyone is fighting some kind of battle.”

Do be kind to each other. And especially remember to be kind to yourself. Instead of letting our feelings restrict us, like Franklin each of us can find our own “NIGHT LIGHT”!

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