At five years old, I would spend months at a time with my mother’s parents. They had a stylish turquoise sofa in their room. I’m sure it was there for grandkids to sleep on while they spent the night. On summer nights we spent the night with the windows open and fans running to stay cool. The windows had a handle that when you turned in one direction the three panels would tilt outward to allow air in and when turned in the opposite direction would flatten the three panels into one in order to keep air out.
Twenty minutes from the nearest grocery store in the middle of what seemed like nowhere would cause any five year old to be a little leery of the sounds outside those windows.
You can probably imagine the discussions and hundreds of questions that I would ask eventually leading up to the most important one. Can I sleep with you guys? I slept in their bed more than I slept on that creepy old couch.
Granny would ask what I was afraid of. I can’t be certain of the answer but it probably pertained to something about the dark, the noises or the boogieman. If you don’t know the boogieman, you’ve hit the jackpot. Other cultures refer to him as the sack man, el coco or bugbear.
Somewhere along the way I had been threatened of doing wrong would cause the boogieman to snatch me up into the darkness. Who would do such a thing? Nightmares are such a wonderful thing for a young child to deal with. Hopefully you sensed the sarcasm.
Either way Granny would always reassure me that as long as you were doing what you were supposed to, the boogieman wouldn’t get you anyways. She never elaborated and I never asked any questions. I felt sure she knew what she was talking about and I was safe for the time being.
Some things people tell you stick. You’re a winner in my eyes. You are fat. You look so handsome. I could go on and on. Well these words about the boogieman stuck in my mind for thirty some odd years. I never really thought about the meaning other than she was encouraging me to be well behaved and if that was the case I didn’t have much to worry about.
Until this morning in Children’s Church where I read the young children a story about Joshua and Caleb. They explained to the Israelites how the land they wished to call home was plentiful in fruit and honey, but before they got too excited there were several obstacles. The people that inhabited the land currently were giants. In fact they made normal people look like grasshoppers. There were also walled cities protecting most of the borders in this area. Many of the people were angry that the Lord had lead them there and had little confidence they could overtake this land with those obstacles.
Caleb and Joshua were confident with the Lord’s help they could do anything. They were rewarded because of their faithfulness.
In my eyes so many years ago, the boogieman would have resembled the Grinch with red eyes sneaking around with cruel intentions manipulating all that would give him the time of day. Something that would be hard for me to conquer at my age without some help. As I’ve gotten older I’ve realized he isn’t necessarily a scary creature. Things that may terrorize people and control their lives could include other people, elevators, flying in a plane, failure, death and the dark. Keeping a close relationship with Christ allows you to trust that he will be with you through any of these seemingly tough situations.
Even sleeping on that God awful sofa.