Another Week Beyond – 2411

An elderly person contacted us and told us that he would avoid engaging with a colleague I shall call Jane. He told us that Jane had a demon within her. The message via WhatsApp to a few of us left us perplexed. We thought that keeping the conversation going on the phone would only lead to more confusion and so we told him that we will chat over coffee.

As I sat with him together with another colleague, this elderly person spoke in an agitated fashion, and we sensed his fear. He related his experiences of how friends have been harmed by evil spirits and attributed his current challenges to the presence of such. I listened respectfully and asked him how he concluded that Jane was in cahoots with the devil. His answer that it was a picture of Jane where a demon was emerging from her baffled me. That was until my colleague, who was with me, recognised what this man was referring to.

This was the picture Jane had used for her WhatsApp profile. It was her son’s drawing of mom and dad. Dad had a fearsome beard, and he was peering over mom’s shoulder. Dad had also cheekily put 2 fingers behind mom’s head. For this elderly man, it looked like mom had 2 heads, one with horns and the other belonging to the devil and he interpreted the picture to be diabolical.

After I explained the picture, he calmed down but now that I am reflecting further, he really was just protecting himself by drawing on the resources of his lived experiences. The fear he experienced was genuine and he began to view that through lenses from his past. This coloured everything he saw and the agitation we observed was just his body’s way of shoring up to protect him.

We need to be gentle and appreciative of our body’s protective instincts and this elderly person seems to have understood this. He agreed that the next time he becomes aware that his body is shoring up to defend himself, he will move away from the “threat” and contact us for a chat before he becomes fully consumed by his fears.

For peace, community, and gentleness,

Gerard

Fear keeps us focused on the past or worried about the future. If we can acknowledge our fear, we can realize that right now we are okay. Right now, today, we are still alive, and our bodies are working marvelously. Our eyes can still see the beautiful sky. Our ears can still hear the voices of our loved ones. – Thich Nhat Hanh

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