Did the groundhog in your region see its own shadow when it came out of its burrow yesterday? Did it predict six more weeks of winter or early spring for you?
Well, the “First Day of Spring” will be here tomorrow in my homeland… on Chinese calendar, anyway. And on its eve, we have a fun tradition to welcome in the new season, chasing out demons by throwing roasted soy beans (believed to have the power to fend off evil spirits) and calling in fortunes.
When I was a little child, I used to think that demons were real. There were many monsters I feared, but one in particular haunted me for years – I am not sure if it had a name, but I was so very afraid of the witch who takes pleasure in snatching away any body part that are not tucked in when asleep… much scarier than ordinary bed bugs that only bite, no? To this date, I make sure my entire body is covered when I go to sleep, even on the hottest summer nights, and I hardly ever toss and turn in bed!
Okay, you can laugh all you want, but the fear is etched in so deep I cannot help it. I know now that it was an imaginary creature made up by my nursery school teacher so I would not catch cold in my sleep. I understand that it is quite silly for a fully grown up person to be this scared of something that I am sure does not exist. I can see how illogical it is to let this fear persist, but knowing it in my head and feeling it in my heart are two completely different things!
So, then, maybe the demons we really should be fearing are not the monsters we think we see, but our hearts that cannot learn to change despite confirming with our own eyes their non-existence.
Maybe the demons that really need to be chased out are not the ones we think are roaming around in front of us, but the ones lurking around within us.
I am so very afraid today that the actions some of us take in trying to fight fear that do not really exist are posing genuine threats and causing real fear in others.
Maybe we must build mighty will, not hefty walls, to stop fearing the shadows cast by our own dark sides, so we can predict a warmer and brighter era coming back to this world sooner.
Here are some roasted soy beans – good luck to everyone tonight on chasing out the demons within, so we can all sleep in peace without fearing any part of us being snatched away.
“Demons out! Fortunes in!”