One evening, I recall all too well, my aunt sent me out to grab a bar of soap from our shower hut across our yard. It must have been only 30 yards away but for the life of me, I couldn't bring myself to run across the yard to do as I was told. I was adopted by my father's oldest sister (something quite common with us Tongans) when I was about 2 months old. So I lived with my grandma and two aunts in a little house at a neighborhood village Kahoua. My father's childhood home.
As there was no electricity at our house, the light from our kerosene lamp could barely define the way to the shower hut and the big, huge Avacado tree, which looked formidable at night (and I always hear stories of a dead woman sitting on top of the tree) looms over the yard taking on an eerie, unnaturally terrifying image. As if something was going to consume me if I dared to spring across the lawn to grab a bar of soap. What if "IT" was waiting inside the shower hut. It was dark out there.
Glued to the doorway and shaking from my head to my toes, my aunt looked at me as if I was deranged. I heard her again for the third time, no longer asking but demanding: "Sela, there's nothing to be scared of, run and grab the soap!" Tears started streaming down my face as I shook my head and said, "I can't I'm afraid!"
My aunt Peta is one fearless woman. I know of no braver woman then her. She took on the role of being a mother to 10 younger siblings when she was quite young because her father passed away at a very young age. Leaving her mother alone with 11 children. Peta had to drop out of school to work and provide for her siblings and she also managed to bring them here to the US. She was not afraid of anything.
Some of our favorite pass time as children were getting together to tell ghost stories. To see who can tell the scariest stories and we ended up scaring ourselves with all the fibs and lies we made up. Well all those stories barred the 30 yards between me and the shower hut, paralyzing me to the spot, unable to move.
Peta did the only thing she knew would scare me more, she grabbed the broom and yelled, "If you don't go right now, I'm going to use this broom on you! I'm right here watching you, nothing is going to happen to you, so run!" Of course I didn't want to get the broom so I muster up all the courage a little girl could have and sprint across the yard like a lightning bolt. Praying, "please don't let there be something waiting for me in that shower hut, please God please".
It was a wonder that I made it back well and safe. Nothing clung to me or beheaded on my way there and back. Got the soap my aunt Peta needed and gave it to her. She said reassuringly, "See, there's nothing to be scared of" Easy for her to say, I thought.
I have overcome the childhood fears of ghosts, ghouls and demons. I can say I am brave and fearless now like my aunt. Yet that would be a lie. A few things can still scare me every now and then. Things like:
Death of a child
Being unable to provide for my children
Loosing a child to the ways of the world. drinking, smoking, drugs etc etc
And, an uncertain future (financially)
Despite all these uncertainties and doubts that can scare me, my heart is assured within the palms of a loving and an all-knowing Heavenly Father. Through Him, I have become BRAVE, HOPEFUL and COMFORTED. I am BRAVE only because I know the Lord always will provide. Without Him, I am nothing. No longer that scary cat little girl. Now I'm a God-fearing woman. And that makes me BRAVE.