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The Melancholy of a Nightmare

2006. Science Class. Mrs. Oliver spoke blandly as she turned to the TV which hung above our heads like a stormy cloud waiting to release its downpour. It glared brightly in the darkened room as it told the story of thousands of years from now when the moon will gradually drift elsewhere like a wayward child ambling away from its mother and the sun will implode upon itself destroying everything in its path, including the very planet that we call home. Mrs. Oliver quietly typed away at her computer, oblivious to the movie that shocked me to my very core.
That starry night, sleep did not come as the black bile of the nightmarish film surrounded me. In my awkward steps, I slowly traversed the secret wonderland of after bedtime, mysterious only to a rule following child, to find my father working silently in the cool low lit garage. I tentatively spoke up to explain to him why I was here standing on the cold concrete floor instead of upstairs in my softly tousled bed. Wincing as I told him of the heinous show, I asked him for the advice that I desperately needed.
“Believe in God. He will get you through anything. He will protect you. Peace be still.” His deep melodic voice washed over me as he continued to use his karate worn hands to progress on one of his many technical projects, which littered the workbench in front of him.
“I’ve never seen God though. Who is He? I know the bible wasn’t written by him, but simply by old men from the past. Plus it’s been revised a million times. Why should I believe in a God that gives me no proof?”
Pausing to digest my words, my father simply praised God and the greatness of believing in Him while running his hands across his face, turning it a soft red. I went back to my musty room, unsatisfied and still upset.
Six years ago, my family lived in a radically different place. Religion wasn’t highly valued, though spirituality was tangible in the air. Without a strict church around, people, wishing for the comfort that God gave them, gathered together in a meeting, singing and sharing their personal spiritual experiences. Leaving people to come into their own spirituality at their own pace allowed me not dwell on those aspects of life, but let me think only of what Disney movie had the best and bravest princess or which lake to swim in to escape the summer’s blistering heat. My personal beliefs were airy and unfounded until the movie that shifted the axis of my whole world to dive deeply into thought about implosions, death, and God.
These unsettling thoughts forced me downstairs nightly. On occasion I would talk instead to my mother, whose soft sweet voice, covered by exhaustion from work, would often be used up by her panicked child. I was told to relax and mentally tour Disney World, the exotic lands in Epcot, the sweet tang of a lemon shake-up on a hot day, the softly cooling mist sticking lightly on my skin from the fans. Running from the panic-inducing thoughts became my expertise. Even as the nightmares unhurriedly drift away from me in time, the events continually affect interactions with people who speak so lovingly of their God, as opinions are not always welcome on the subject of religion when they do not conform to the traditional beliefs. All of these experiences, good and bad, stemmed from the experiences of an eleven-year old girl trying to find out about the world and where her place is in the vast unending universe.





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