When I was young, my sister and I would often spend Friday nights at my Nana's house while our parents helped run the church youth group. The room we slept in had a paisley wallpaper. At least that is how I remember it. When the lights turned off and I lay in the quiet, the paisley shapes became large monster eyes glaring down at me. I would hide my face under the bedspread so that my imagination did not completely terrify me. I was only seven years old, but I was smart enough to know that if I only turned on the light the yellow eyes and the thrashing tails would all disappear. All that was left behind were elaborate flower patterns in beautiful colours. My irrational fears did not stop me wanting to stay at my Nana's house or in any way change my love for her.
At about the same age, I would occasionally visit my cousins' auntie's house. We would play together in one of the upstairs' rooms. To get there, however, we had to climb the stairs and dare to pass the plant on the landing. One of the children has explained to me that if I didn't move fast enough the plant would turn into a monster and grab me. We would tiptoe up the stairs until a few stairs before the landing. Each of us had our own action movie way of darting past the plant, unseen or too quick for it to react.
These experiences are from many years ago, childhood memories that I can chuckle at now. Sadly, though, I feel that I am living in a world full of grown adults that believe in monsters in the wallpaper and snatching plants on the landing. People believe crazy stories that are spun about why we should fear certain groups of people. Everyday, fellow human beings are turned into monsters by vivid imaginations and games that have gone out of control.
A Syrian refugee, desperate for a better life for their family, become a terrorist who is a threat to our society. A homosexual person becomes a source of corruption for our children. It horrifies me how long the list of examples has become. People bury their heads under the covers in fear. For goodness sake - turn on the lights, see things for what they are and stop letting your imaginations run wild. These "monsters" are fellow human beings, like you and I, full of beauty and potential.
Last night our MAD group at church watched the movie "Zootopia". Essentially, it is a movie about people in power and control creating monsters to bring about fear. It took one little creature to expose the truth and dispel the myths.One little creature to turn on the lights. One little creature to see things for how they really were. One little creature to speak the truth. That is what we need in our world today. Let it start with you and I.