• Jennifer Hastings

Face your Fears: Get out of the Car!

Updated: Oct 9, 2019

The year I was Casper, the friendly ghost, was a Halloween to remember.

All these years later I can still feel the terror when I heard the low growl coming from the mouth of what is suppose to be man’s best friend. This was no friend, folks. He was coming at me with nothing but ill intent. Time really does seem to slow down when you are afraid for your life or else maybe every sense is just heightened in such a way that your brain picks up your surroundings and sears them in your memory. I suddenly recalled a tidbit of mom gossip I overhead last week. “Yeah, her dog bit one of the Kirkpatrick boys. Drew blood and everything. She really should keep him locked up.”

I can feel the panic rising in me at the same time I’m sizing up the situation. The owner, maybe she will save me? Nope, she is at the front door halfheartedly calling the beast like he is a harmless butterfly. He is not paying a lick of attention to her.

Jonathan, my brother, where is he? Nope, I hear the car door slam and see my brother made it to the safety of the car. No help from him! I’m on my own. My legs take off as fast as they can carry me. The barking and growling are getting louder and I’m puckered up and waiting for the sharp teeth to tear into my heels. My jeans are a little long and the beast almost tripped me while nipping at the hem of my jeans. At this point, I turn around and growl at him hoping to save my ankles. He looks confused and then begins the ferocious growling again. Now, I know my only hope is to make it to the car. I take off, I plant my feet, and jump superman style through the open window and straight into my dad's arms.

“Take me home, take me home, take me home... now!” I manage to choke out between sobs. I can hardly breathe. I am making pitiful little animal noises and my dad’s shirt is beginning to feel wet and slimy.

He rubs my back slowly and whispers, "You are safe now." When I finally dry up, Dad puts the car in drive and begins heading to the next house.

“Oh, no...wait just a minute! I said, I want to go HOME and I mean it.” I was craving the safety and comfort of home in the worst way.

He proceeds to pull into the driveway of the next house.

I simply refuse to get out. My dad drags me out of the car while I scream, “Take me home, I do not want to trick-or-treat anymore!” Who knows what the neighbors thought, I’m sure my dad got a few funny looks while he pushed his screaming ghost up the sidewalk.

I sulk for the next two houses. Then out of nowhere Dad begins to laugh. “Man, you looked like an Olympic track star. That jump was unbelievable! I had no idea you had that kind of ability. I should sign you up for track." He begins to tease me in that way of his that draws me out of my funk. And I’m back! I’m enjoying trick-or-treating the way a six-year-old should.

By the time we made our rounds, I couldn’t wait for Daddy to tell Mom about what happened with the dog. I used to wonder why Mom didn’t join us trick-or-treating. Now, I know! Now, I get it. She probably had been looking forward to those couple of hours of having the whole house to herself all week.

We file in the house, our annual candy trade session put on hold by my extraordinary jump. We had a story to tell. Daddy didn’t disappoint, he told the story like an ESPN announcer and he made me the MVP!. He made me look and sound heroic as I faced the next few houses looking over my shoulder for four-legged friends.

It would have been just as easy for my Dad and my brother to come home and retell the story where I was the butt of the joke instead of the track star. Especially since the dog, well, the dog was a Weiner dog. Yes, I left that out on purpose.

(By the way, I hear Weiner dogs are very territorial.)

You know how there are those people that seem to make everything an adventure and you just love being in their presence. My Dad has always been that person for me! My dad has a special gift, he can take the absolute worst situation and simply by his attitude and heart make it fun! He has the ability to bring out the best in people.

The way I see it, as parents, we can learn from my dad and how he chose to handle the botched trick-or-treating episode. He didn’t discount my fear, he didn’t let me give in to my fear, and he fully supported me through my fear, and made me feel brave for facing my fear. This is an example of how our heavenly father wants to guide us through our fears as adults. He wants us to come to him for safety and security.

Fear is a natural part of life, maybe not the fear of a Weiner dog, but the way we handle the “Weiner dogs” of childhood will become the way we face our fears as adults. The fear of trying something new for the first time? The fear of putting yourself out there? Do you hide in your car or run back to the safety of your house? Do you face your fears head on?

Maybe you are hiding out in the car. When is it time to “move on” to the next house? Maybe it is time to apply for the new job? Maybe it is time to move to a new city? Maybe it is time to try for another baby? Start your own business? Cut back on your hours at work to spend more time with your family?

If we are honest with ourselves, I think we can all identify with a scared six-year-old letting fear stand in the way of free candy. Don’t be that child as an adult. What are you waiting for? Get out of the car! Face your “dog” because your dreams might just be waiting for you at the next house! Happy Halloween!

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