A person in a jar, kept on a table, with people talking, talking all around. They sit at their table, filling the air, watching their words fly freely away. They breathe with ease as their words fly free, as they talk and talk into open air. You sit in your jar, looking around, but they cannot see, see you sitting in there. You try to climb out, but the jar is sealed tight, you try to break free, you try to break free. So you then try to plead, you then try to speak, but the words cannot go, trapped with you in your jar. No one can hear you, so you start to scream, but your words fill your jar until it’s hard to breathe. Your jar and your throat are so stuffed with words that it’s hard to move, hard to push out your voice. The pressure so great, one word squeaks through the lid, and someone had heard it, they heard it, they did! “Was that a person I heard?” they ask of the others, they ask of the others, but none flicks their ear. So you keep up your screaming, though it hurts in your throat, so more words squeak out, and more words can squeak out. “I hear a voice,” someone says to the others. “I did hear a noise,” they all say to each other. “But it’s just a mouse or a bird or a clock. There is no person there, none to see, none to hear. There is no person there, there is no person there.”
I’ve always wondered at the question of what I’m afraid of. I knew there had to be something. Now that I have kids, I’ve figured it out: kids. Kids terrify me, and they always have. There are two ways in which kids scare me:
Kids who are inexplicably and profoundly twisted. They exist, you know. There are those kids who murder their parents and revel in the idea of torture. What in the world?! Terrifying.
That thought inevitably leads me to the second way in which kids terrify me: things happening to kids. I can watch a gory movie all day (OK, that’s a major exaggeration, but for the sake of self expression, I’m leaving it in there.), but the minute you bring a little child into it, I’m done. No way. I can’t handle it. The thought of anything terrible happening to kids just sickens, disheartens, and most definitely scares me.
Being a parent has brought me to realizing my worst fears because bad things do happen to children. And children are evil, sometimes to a terrifying degree. Now that I’m a parent, I have to stare that fear directly in the face. I have to spit in its eye and tell it, “greater is he that is in me than he that is in you.” (I sometimes prefer, “You have no power over me,” but whatever works.) And I have to equip my children to fight those things that scare me, because it isn’t an imagined fear, but one that they too may have to face more directly than I want to believe possible. In this way, I have to be brave.