Our house has a crawl space under it instead of a basement. We wanted a basement but could not afford it. Anyway, the shallow dirt crawl space is sometimes home to critters. We are not fond of that arrangement but there is little we can do about it, living in the country and all. A stray cat, a possum or a raccoon will sometimes take up temporary residence, especially during inclement weather. Usually they are quiet about it but periodically they will raise a ruckus, especially if they are defending their ill-gotten domicile from an interloper. Bang bang go the heater ducts, munch munch on the floor joists. We know what is causing these noises and do our best to run the varmints off either by banging on the floor or in more severe cases, with a dose of ammonia expertly guided under the house with a piece of PVC pipe. Living in the country can be interesting at times.
We can identify the annoying source of these sounds because we see the critters come and go and can correlate the sound with the source. Buddy, on the other hand, cannot connect the dots. To him, there are monsters under the house. He’s terrified when he hears the bang bang or munch munch or the occasional all-out fur fight that takes place. Bang bang and that boy is knocking down everything in his path to get out of the room and out of the house. He will knock down a child gate that we have across the doorway and we’ll find him pressed against the front door silently crying, “Let me out of here!”
“It’s okay, Buddy. It’s only a raccoon.”
He’s not buying that explanation for one minute. It’s monsters and he knows it.
Being afraid is a horrible feeling and I suppose that we have all been afraid at one time or another. But terror is much different than fear and Buddy is terrified of the monsters. This is where Dad comes in. Even though I know that running outside won’t really help the situation, Buddy and I will sometimes go outside and walk around the yard until he calms down. Rain or shine or snow or blowing freezing cold, we go outside together. It’s irrational I know, but it’s a small sacrifice to make for someone I love. Did I mention that we go outside in the blowing freezing cold? I hate the cold and I’m pretty sure Buddy isn’t fond of it either but like I said, it really is a small sacrifice, isn’t it?
Many years ago I was required to attend a business retreat for a week of team building. One ridiculous exercise was to get cinched up with a harness and rope, climb to the top of a telephone pole and jump off.
“We’ll catch you,” they said.
“Ain’t gonna,” I replied.
“You’re not afraid are you?”
“Your fear is irrational, you know that, right?”
“Maybe so but it’s my irrational fear so leave it alone.”
They badgered me to climb that pole and participate in the exercise meant to build trust until I asked them, “If I climb that pole and jump off, will my “irrational fear” disappear?” (I used air quotes for their benefit) When they could not answer in the affirmative, and I knew they couldn’t, I chose to be a “wienie” and sit this one out. (they used air quotes for my benefit)
Mind you, if a loved one was trapped atop that pole and desperately needed my help, I’d be there without hesitation. They weren’t and I didn’t have to. End of story.
I empathize with Buddy’s irrational fear. I will always. without hesitation, devoid of grumbling, be there for my little fur buddy and I will protect him from the evil bang bang and munch munch under the house.
You may sometimes be afraid and that fear may even be irrational but it’s your irrational fear so don’t let anyone belittle you for it. Hopefully you have someone who will walk around the yard with you. When you think about it, you have such a friend whether you can see him or not. I know that someone who cares about your fears, irrational or otherwise. He’ll walk with you. All you have to do is ask and He’ll be there.
One last thing, the next time someone seems irrational, try to see things from their point of view.
Excuse me, I have to go bang on the floor and then me and Buddy are gonna walk around the yard for a while.