Friday, June 25, 2010

The Dreaded Toy

‘Then it shall come to pass, that the sword, which ye feared, shall overtake you there in the land of Egypt, and the famine, whereof ye were afraid, shall follow close after you there in Egypt; and there ye shall die.” ~ Jeremiah 42:16

Every so often, my daughter falls in love with a new film. The latest choice is the ever popular ET, the film that conquered the hearts of young and old over two decades ago. The other day, since it was very hot outside, she asked if we could just get some popcorn and watch ET together, so we settled in and got the movie started.

It was really interesting to watch her reaction when Elliott and his brother first run into ET – she laughed and thought ET was hilarious when he got scared and screamed. Her response set my thoughts off down a path that led to the day my eldest son watched the same movie for the first time. When ET screamed, he jumped out of his skin! After that, he was afraid of ET for years, and could not even look at pictures of it.

Several years after this particularly traumatizing episode, I took him and his brother to browse ‘Toys ’r Us’ before Christmas, with the intent of gathering ideas for Santa’s list. We walked around different aisles, and looked at different toys. Suddenly, one toy fell from a top shelf and landed directly on Stephen; when I looked at the toy I held my breath…it was a stuffed ET! Michael saw it, too, and instantly glanced at his brother who, in that moment, was still trying to absorb the terrifying reality of it and had automatically turned pale as a ghost. He was frozen in panic; so much in fact, that his mouth opened and closed, and then opened again without even uttering a single word.

A teenager now, Stephen is obviously no longer afraid of a fictional character, but throughout the years I have always found it fascinating how of all the toys that could have fallen, ET had to be the one. What he was most afraid of had found a way to haunt him in the craziest of ways.

After the “ET accident” I started paying attention to the fear patterns of people I knew, including myself. It never failed – the more one was afraid of something, the more the object of their fear would materialize in their lives. I’ve known some whose biggest fear was to be penniless, and most of them struggled with money the majority of their time; I’ve met people who were afraid to be abandoned or not be loved, and somehow, they found themselves walking the very same path they dreaded. I was afraid of spiders and, somehow, there used to always be one in close proximity every time I turned around. When I got over that fear, spiders suddenly migrated away from me.

Thoughts void of emotions flow through our minds constantly, but if not paid much attention, they just become reabsorbed by the collective consciousness; however, when thoughts are fueled by a powerful emotional charge such as fear, they suddenly vibrate at a higher level, strong enough to manifest into one’s reality.

I believe that Stephen learned a hard lesson that day, one I think he will never forget. To date, he smiles whenever he sees an image of ET. His own little personal demon had come to get him, but once he was able to breathe again, he realized it was nothing he couldn’t put back on a shelf.