When Old Friends Become New Fears

I have feared things I never thought I would fear.

Turns out, seeing things you are generally comfortable with outside of the context you are used to seeing them, can suddenly make you fearful of the once familiar.

Dogs. I thought I loved dogs. We agreed we would not get one due to the inconvenience this purchase poses to a missionary, but I have never disliked them. In fact, I had puppy wallpaper in my bedroom when I was a child. Now, dogs are everywhere but not in the cute and comforting wall-paper way. Sleeping on the side of the road. Begging outside of shops. Running in wild packs. Mangy, matted, stinky, probably disease-ridden mutts. There is no way to know if a dog you encounter is a “nice or mean doggy” as we caution Jolynn. When I see a pack, I don’t completely panic but I do tense up and hold my breath just a little bit. This might explain why I don’t sleep well listening to them howl all night long.

Monkeys. I thought monkeys were something you see in a zoo or out on a safari. NOT IN YOUR FRONT YARD. Yet I’ve seen them there on two separate occasions and up on my wall and around my neighborhood on countless others. When seen up close, you realize how big they are. The one I saw feet from my front door was comparable to my big-for-her-age three-year-old on all fours. On a walk-around of the Buddhist temple during my parent’s visit, we were surrounded by hungry monkeys taking advantage of the Buddhist holiday celebrations we didn’t realize we had walked into. The food offerings were drawing them out of their places of hiding in the trees and all around us. Stepping out of the way, I nearly crushed an infant, whose mother showed me her disapproval by a swift but firm swipe at the offending foot. I’ll check the calendar next time.

Cats. Ew…Cats. I am not necessarily afraid of cats, but I definitely don’t like them. They are often mangy and matted like their canine counterparts, uncared for and most often unseen. These aren’t your grandma’s house cats! One night, we woke up to the worst sound I have ever heard. I made Paul check to see what it was because it literally sounded like there was a baby dying on our front porch. He found two cats wailing and whining for who knows what reason. After several half-asleep attempts to get them to “scat,” he threw a brick. Problem solved.

Crows. Do we even have them in America? Maybe I have vague recollections of hearing them caw from afar, but I would definitely remember if they swooped at my head as they have done here. They are the reason we don’t have patio furniture and were afraid to have guests for a while. Nothing says “Welcome to our home” like a crow attacking you. We tried a BB gun, rat poison, and countless other counter-attacks but ended up waiting it out until daddy crow’s baby grew up and he was no longer on the defensive. I still get the sunken stomach every time I hear that familiar call or see those wretched creatures which I’m guessing are a result of the fall and not representative of God’s creation which when He observed was declared good.

So, if I act strangely around your house pets or friendly outdoor guests, I hope you will remember this post and still be my friend. And maybe hold my hand as we walk inside.

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Have you found yourself afraid of familiar things in a new context?
I would love to hear your experiences in the comment section below!

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