Monday, October 25, 2010

To Boo or Not to Boo

It was a beautiful day as I sat in my car, waiting for my daughter to meet me for lunch.  My nose deep in a book,  I was lost to the world. Suddenly, someone pounded on my car window and I screamed. I looked up to see my daughter laughing her head off. She said, without apology, "I just kept thinking, please don't let Mom look up!"   My kids know I can be scared by a good "boo."  

It is the season of "boo," the week before Halloween, full of haunted houses in every town and horror movies on every cable channel.  Now, I've had mixed feelings about Halloween my whole life. I loved dressing up as a kid and going to haunted houses as a teen.  I also went through a conservative religious stage when I wouldn't let the children trick or treat. They could only go to the church's harvest festival.  (Decades later, my  twenty-something daughter is headed to Las Vegas for the holiday this year.  Just sayin'.) These days, I've put it in perspective as a secular holiday wrecking havoc on  teeth and sugar levels.

I've pondered why I'm enjoying the scary aspects of the holiday more this year. Why do I want to freak myself out?  It is pretty simple. The world right now is a scary place.  Terrorists, job loss and health scares jump out at  unsuspecting folks at every turn.  I know I don't need to be truly afraid. The Bible is full of scriptures encouraging us not to fear because the Lord is with us.  But, regardless of my faith and prayers, I still get that creeping feeling in the back of my neck or subtle tension in my shoulders.  Fear can do weird things to our minds and bodies without us even realizing it.

That is where a good "boo" comes in. The very attraction of Halloween is facing the ghoulies and ghosties  haunting our dreams or imaginations.  Facing fears we can control, like those movies or haunted house tours, somehow reminds us we can put those world fears in perspective as well. A good scream and heart rate increase releases some of the built-up tension.  At least, that works for me for a brief while.  After Halloween,  I look forward to the Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays and their healing powers of gratitude and promise - remedies even better and longer lasting than a "boo."

What are you afraid of? What can you do to put those fears in perspective in the coming weeks?