Where the Wild Things Are
Inside all of us is fear, yes fear. I know, it’s an uncomfortable admission since it defies a good deal of our pretences to bravery. Funnily enough, as young children we seemed incapable of it and then, as an adult, whammo it’s just there, large as some life-size iMax screen, eye-balling us and daring us to say otherwise.
It’s what fear does. Sizes us up, decides whether it will spit us out or not. Realistically, it will and does if we let it. There are few instances in my life that I can recall when fear ever got the better of me. Don’t get me wrong, I seriously didn’t like some of the situations I found myself in but in the end there’s something about learning to stare down fear that seriously grows us on our insides. That teaches us heart.
Here’s the thing too, you can’t look your enemy in the eyes if you’re always high-tailing it away. You could however, perceive the reasonable extent of the pain they’re capable of inflicting upon you when you look them directly in the eye. The split second after that, wisdom should prevail. I always suggest leaving then, so you live to tell the story.
In truth, too many of us stay too long and become mesmerised. Experience teaches you when to move and act. Yet, on the flip side, we rarely consider fear to be an operative habit in our lives, capable of producing in us good or even better habits than those we’ve had. Ever think of it that way?
I think fear in a person can do one of two things. It’s capable of paralysing us into inactivity or spurring us on passed the limits of what we’d previously believed about ourselves. It’s this spurring us on that strikes me as character-forming instead of soul-destroying. It’s also the reason I think we ought to move toward it. This movement toward is the story within the story of our lives. Yet we could miss it. I urge you not to.
Inside all of us is adventure. How much of it have we missed? Inside all of us is a wild thing! Would we know it if it slapped us up the side of the chops? Would we? Not so many of us go to where the wild things are in our lives. Why is that?
Are we like the boy-Max in the story who simply runs inside himself to a landscape of his own invention albeit with larger than life-sized Wild Things, where he crowns himself “a great king with magical powers capable of bringing harmony to the group?” And yet is himself out-of-sorts with his own self.
Are we, like the boy-Max in great need of real friends like Alexander in the story who has a conversation with him and reveals how he’s always suspected that Max wasn’t a king with magical powers. Where are our real friends who will tell us those things and we for our part, like the ‘faces-his-fear Max’ might seek out the book character Carol and tell him he’s going home because he isn’t a king.
I’ve always wondered where the Wild Things Were and now I know. It’s beyond the Shadowlands, down through the craggy range that leads away from fear to that place inside ourselves known as “Returning Home.’ Where being King or Queen is unimportant compared to having friends that care for us, enough to tell us what’s what. Those friends, they’re a token definitely worth finding.