26 January 2011

The monster in the cupboard

When I was very small, I used to have the nightmare about The Monster in the Cupboard. You know the one: you think that there's a monster of some hideous description hidden somewhere in your room - for me, usually the wardrobe, occasionally under the bed. I was always waking up in the middle of the night thinking I'd heard footsteps or burglars or something, and getting up and creeping around the house to check everything was okay. I became very good at moving silently, and cased out which of the stairs creaked so I could get downstairs without waking anyone.

But if it was a Monster in the Cupboard, I would creep up, pick up something large and hefty (usually my hockey stick), and turn on the light. I'd then creep up to the cupboard, stick firmly in hand, and then throw open the door - to stand blinking in the light, slightly embarrassed because the Monster was my schoolbag. Or the cat rustling around. Or something else I recognised.

Sometimes life is a little like that. Opening the doors, turning on the light, looking the monster full in the face, and we find that it's different. Not that it doesn't exist. Not that it wasn't terrifying, horrible, evil, but that we know what it is now. It has a name. A form. A shape. We can see it full in the face. Once we know what it is, we can do something about it - like whacking it with a hockey stick.

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