Sunday, September 23, 2007

The God of Monsters

My boys are really into monsters and all things creepy crawly. Henry probably gets this from Luke, who has always had a natural fascination with the dramatic and macabre. I used to be concerned about this (something about my three year old Luke yelling, "I'm going to chop your finger off and the bathtub will fill with blood!" didn't sit right with me) but after talking to a lot of mamas, I came to the conclusion that many little boys are into "scary stuff." But, in true Luke style, he forgoes "interest" and goes straight for "obsession."

I experienced something very reassuring just a couple of weeks ago. I was volunteering at the face painting booth at Luke's school during the back to school party with another mom. Most of the boys Luke's age requested something superhero-related, and most of the boys about age 8 or older requested something sports-related. One ten year old, however, who seemed very nice, asked for a vampire mouth on one cheek. Later, he came back and asked for a scorpion and "You bug me!" on the other cheek. As he left, he said, "Bye Mom" to the woman I was working with.

"Oh, he's your son!" I commented. "I was just thinking that my Luke will be like that when he is older. Luke is really into scary things," I added.

"Yes, my son has always been like that. They just come out that way," she said.

Whew. That is strangely reassuring, although I was beginning to suspect as much. I'm not into scary stuff. In fact, I despise scary movies and had to be taken, screaming, out of the Snow White and the Seven Dwarves ride at Disneyland as a child. And we never exposed Luke to any monster/villain/bloody stuff as a young child. But he has always been drawn to it.

When watching the BBC version of The Voyage of the Dawn Treader, I had to turn it off when Eustace Clarence Scrubb, who has been turned into a dragon, begins to turn back into a little boy. As he scraped the scales away from his body--a good thing, since he can become a little boy again--Luke began to scream. It was a scream that I recognized, because it was the same scream that issued from my mouth when, at age eight, the whole haunted house at a school carnival had to be dismantled in order to startle me from my hysteria.

"Luke, this is good. It doesn't hurt Eustace. Now he can become a little boy again. He isn't a real dragon," I said in my best reassuring mommy voice. But Luke would have none of it.

Luke had this same reaction when the beast in Disney's Beauty and the Beast turned back into prince Eric. Every time Luke watched that movie, I had to turn it off before the transformation occurred.

Clearly, Luke is a little boy with great sympathy for these oft-understood creatures. Creatures that I have always associated with evil, but that Luke believes have a place beside God.

When I turned out the light at bed time the other night, Henry began to whine. "I scared!" he cried. "Scared of monsters!"

Poor Henry. He has been exposed to too much scary stuff for such a little guy.

So, trying to reassure him, I said, "There is no one in our house except Mom, Dad, Luke and Henry. Mom and Dad will keep you safe. And your Guardian Angel is here to protect you, and God is here to protect you."

"Where God? What God look like? God is monster?" asked Henry.

Oh boy.

"No, God isn't a monster. God is Jesus and also like a big daddy who loves you," I said, sleepy and trying to pull a good answer out of my dream-tinged thoughts.

"God is everywhere," Luke added. "In church, and also in our house and in monsters, too."

Oh, yes. God is in monsters, too.


alaskapeter said...

Ser, I don't know how you do it, but you make me laugh every time. I'm a rabid fan of your blog now, checking it almost every day. I miss you guys!

Nancy said...

Of course your post made me think of the movie Gods and Monsters, though I'm not sure there is a connection. In any case, the two share that they are powerful, and how much more reassuring if they're on the same side? One of Hazel's favorite books is an illustrated version of Ogden Nash's poem Custard the Dragon, and Henry might really enjoy that. (another along the same lines is The Monster Bed)

The predisposition to be into monsters or not is really interesting...Emily is certainly a little atheist, from day 1, while Hazel discusses angels regularly. Genetics? Environment? Who knows? Though my own family discoveries do lead me to think there is a genetic component to religious belief.

Very funny about Luke wanting the monsters to remain unchanged!

Beck said...

That's good to know about God being the God of monsters, too. And of course He is.
Henry sounds like one of The Boy's friends - sweet kid, REALLY into monsters.

Shari said...

I just found your blog. You have a great sense of humor about these boyish things. Lol. Thanks for the laughs. My boys are both in kindergarten this year also. We too, seem to have grown past the 'age of the superheros' into the 'age of the warriors'. Imaginative play abounds, along with large amounts of spittle that gets sprayed with the constant explosions and other sounds that I never knew could be so easily made from young mouths. sigh.

bubandpie said...

Yikes. From a certain point of view, the reassurance that "God is everywhere" could be very, very frightening. (I love Luke's attempt to reassure his brother!)