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A fearful child's heavenly dream brings a lifetime of comfort and peace.
Bedtime was miserable for me when I was seven. The attic door just outside my bedroom had an unfriendly habit of creaking open by itself in the night, and I was sure that it was because of some bone-chilling monster on its way out to get me.
“It’s an old house, Lois,” my mother explained as she tucked me in one night. “The hinges on that door are all rusted, and you know how drafty it can get.” But her soothing words were no match for my wild imagination.
“Can you read to me to help me go to sleep?” I asked. Mom sat by my bedside and read me a story, and another, and another, until I finally dozed off, my stuffed tiger, Mumsy, clutched securely to my chest.
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During the day, the attic was anything but frightening. The very next afternoon my friends and I ran up and down its steps for fun. First they were a mountain to climb. Then a ship’s mast. Then a magnificent castle staircase.
“See, Mumsy,” I said, climbing over boxes and furniture we’d stored. “There’s nothing scary here.”
But, when night fell, everything changed. The attic’s rough wooden floors and unfinished walls were dimly lit by bare bulbs that made everything look haunted. Those piles of storage boxes and old furniture took on more sinister shapes.
What could be lurking in the shadows of the crawl space? I was terrified I was going to find out.
“You played up there all day–you know that there’s nothing to worry about,” Mom reassured me that night, kissing me on the forehead. “You have Mumsy here to keep an eye on things, don’t you?”
“I guess so,” I said. Mom was right. Mumsy was a fierce tiger, after all, proud and unafraid. I hugged him and closed my eyes. Mom left me to my bedtime prayers and dreams.
This night, I found myself dreaming of a beautiful woman standing by my bedroom door. She was draped in blue and white silk that flowed to the floor in ethereal pleats. It was still night and my room was pitch black, but I could see her clearly. She illuminated everything around her.
Smiling, she offered me her hand. I climbed out of bed and took it, my other hand keeping a tight grasp on Mumsy.
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Together, the three of us went up the attic stairs. The woman guided me to every corner of the attic. She even showed me the crawl space. Her glowing presence banished the shadows. She never spoke, but I understood that she was showing me there was nothing to fear.
With that angel by my side, the attic looked just like it did during the day–a place where I could feel safe to imagine and play.
My mother woke me up the next morning. “Where did Mumsy get to?” she asked. I searched under the covers, under my pillow, under my bed. My tiger was nowhere to be found. Remembering my dream, I hopped out of bed and raced up the attic stairs. There, waiting for me on the top step, was Mumsy!
Eventually I got old enough to sleep without a tiger guard. And today I have an attic filled with my own boxes and old furniture. But I still say my bedtime prayers and rely on angels to shine light on my fears.
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