People standing in long lines and laying down good money to be scared out of their wits. Gruesome billboards featuring grotesque figures promising to give a rollicking bad fright. I don’t get it. Don’t get me wrong, I’m no spiritual ghost buster nor do I participate in hate Harry Potter witch hunts, but I fail to see the lure or wisdom of exposing one’s self to macabre nightmare-inducing images and experiences. Forty plus years later, I still remember entering under a garage door on Bryan Avenue in Groves, Texas, and walking through a neighborhood haunted house. I recall the sensation of being blindfolded and placing my hands in a bowl of spaghetti while my friend’s father told me I was holding a dead man’s brains. Bloody ketchup covered everything it seemed, and I practically leapt out of my sheet when a dangling skeleton nearly strangled me around a dark corner of the laundry room. No amount of candy was worth ever going through that again.
It may be that folks seek out dark shadows for the sake of facing fear in a safe place — spook houses, movie theaters, or their own living rooms. They hedge their bets by taking on specters from their past on their own turf. While I choose to face my own apart from scaring myself to death, confronting phobias is a good thing so long as the end result is greater power to overcome them through heightened awareness of God’s transforming presence.
“What time I am afraid, I will trust in Thee.” (Psalm 56:3, KJV)