Do you ever have a memory that will stay in your mind forever?
For me, I have a flashbulb memory of the first time I was really scared as a child.
Just recently after moving into our new house, which was when I was about five, I was awoken to the sound of our alarm going off very early in the morning. The alarm was only supposed to go off if someone was trying to break in, so I jumped out of my bed and threw open my door. Frantically, I saw my dad at the end of the hallway and immediately went running to him before jumping in his arms. He held me safely on one side of the house, while my mom turned off the alarm she had accidentally set off on the other.
Now I would like to admit that I am a very worrisome person.
Maybe that was the event that caused me to be this way. I’m not really sure. But fretting over the littlest thing has always come naturally to me. So late at night, as I hear my house creak and when I hear taps against the window from bugs on the outside, well, my mind begins to wander.
My worst and recurring nightmare is always someone trying to break in.
Last week around midnight, I sat in the living room and watched my brother play video games. When it got quiet, we could hear a dog in the neighborhood howling. Not thinking much of it, we continued to talk as he played.
Again, minutes later, we heard another noise. But this time, the dog was crying and he sounded like he was right outside our house. We pressed our ears to the wall to hear him as my brother and I tried to think of what to do.
Of course I wanted to help the dog. But my brain was also racking over all those warnings of criminals using crying noises to lure out their next victim. As the crying continued, I called my mom who was out of town and asked her what to do because my dad was already asleep.
My mom was also a little hesitant about us going outside, so she advised us to turn on the porch light. We did and peered out the door windows, hoping that the dog would run up on the porch so we could help him. We waited for a few minutes… but nothing happened.
At this point, my brother and I decided to go in our backyard and look over the fence. But as soon as we opened the door we heard a car alarm going off. We quickly decided to abort the mission, and I started to get really freaked out because I was beginning to believe that there was more than just a dog out there. As we talked, a strange noise emerged on the back side of our house.
I decided to go into my room and hide, but I came back out eight minutes later to ask if my brother had heard anything else.
“Actually, I just heard some knocking on the house.”
I don’t think I’ve ever been more scared in my life. I bolted to my dad’s room and gently woke him before telling him all the noises we had heard. My dad got up and decided he was going to take a look outside for anything or anyone, so he took a bat and an old knife just in case.
“You’re not scared?” I asked him.
“No, are you?”
I nodded my head, in disbelief of how brave he was. My brother and I waited a few minutes before he came in and reported that he did not see anything. I was still so shaken up that I asked my brother to sleep in the second bed in my room, but he wouldn’t. My dad stepped in and I was so grateful, once again feeling a little more protected.
I love my dad a lot, and I am very thankful to have him in my life. But we don’t always get along. Perhaps we are too similar and I have picked up too many of his stubborn habits. We tend to butt heads a lot, especially on all things concerning religion.
My father is not a religious man. He grew up in a very devout Catholic family, but somewhere along the way he became distant from the church. He stopped attending mass with us, and doesn’t usually speak of prayer or God very often.
And yet, he unknowingly helped teach me how to view circumstances through God’s eyes.
A while back, I attended a retreat where the participants were asked what God means to us. Some said they viewed him as a friend, some said shepherd, and others said father.
I had never thought of God as a father figure. I knew that we were his children, but it just seemed hard for me to really connect with that comparison of such an intimate relationship.
But now, I’ve seen my relationship with God in a new light. For me at least, it is like a father-daughter dynamic. Now whenever I get very worried or scared, I picture myself running and jumping into Jesus’ arms. Just as I did long ago with my earthly father.
It is not always easy to see God in those who are around you, but it is such a blessing when you finally do.
As the quote by Thomas Merton, a renowned American author, goes, “When you see God in everyone, then they see God in you.”
“But now, O Lord, you are our Father; we are the clay, and you are our potter; we are all the work of your hand.” Isaiah 64:8.