© Copyright 2007 by Phil Scovell - All Rights Reserved
14 Trapped by claustrophobia By Phil Scovell Over on the other side of the apple orchard, was another unkempt field. It appeared to be, in actuality, several lots where homes could be built. In this rundown area was an old house. It was small and occasionally we met there just to hang out and play various games. Fort, that is, being attacked by indians or other warriors, school, clubhouse, or just about anything we could think of and we could think of a lot. It was also where I smoked my first cigarette. The kids, who lived in this part of the neighborhood, were not kids we often played with for obvious reasons. My dad and I had a little talk about the cigarette smoking ordeal later. No, he didn't spank me but he did listen to my story and explained why we didn't smoke as Christians. I was about 8 years old at the time. I didn't smoke again. Well, not until my dad died and I was a teenager and a pot and tobacco smoker for a defiant period of time of my life. One day, while playing in this old house, we discovered it had an attic. It was mid summer and pushing back the ceiling door, we climbed into the super heated attic to look around and I mean it was hot, too. So we came up with this big idea. We decided to take turns, one by one, to climb up into the hot attic, close the ceiling door, and weight for the boys downstairs to count to one hundred. We did exactly that, taking turns, and everyone passed the test. What men we were. With this in mind, I want to tell you about another experience I had when I was about the same age but this time, the experience brought sudden fear and panic. My dad had built a luggage carrier out of wood for the top of our car. One day he had removed it from the car and laid it upside down on the ground in the backyard. Why upside down? So if it rained, it couldn't collect water. You see, it was just a big square box with huge suction cups on the bottom with straps so it would stay clamped to the roof of the car. Dad would drape a large tarpaulin over the luggage to protect it from the weather. Discovering the luggage carrier one day, I thought it would be neat to lift one side and climb beneath it. I did so and lowered it to the ground. It was a tight fit but I had plenty of room to move around on my belly. There was no logical reason for what happened next because I head done such things hundreds of times. Suddenly, fear washed over me. "What if you can't get out!" I started to panic and quickly lifted the carrier off of me. I was not trapped, I was in no danger, but something made me not only frightened, but like someone was going to stand on top of the carrier and keep me pinned inside. I was going to die. I shook the feelings off and ran away to play elsewhere; putting as much distance between me and that luggage carrier as possible. Over the years, this memory frequently came to mind. I never understood why. Yes, there was fear and a strong sense of claustrophobia directly associated with the memory every time it came to mind. I was just a kid, though, and I always quickly dismissed the memory of having no value. After all, it wasn't true, I was fine, and besides, I'm a grown man now and it happened decades ago. Recently, when the memory suddenly popped into my mind, I stopped what I was doing and focused on it. "Lord?" I queried, "what is wrong in this memory? You are allowing it to return for some reason and there is something wrong. I can feel it." I let myself feel the fear and the strong claustrophobia. "You are trapped. You will never get out alive." "What do you feel?" I heard the Holy Spirit ask. I told Him. Suddenly, I was viewing the memory from outside the luggage carrier. Always before, the memory was of me underneath and trapped. Now I was viewing the entire memory from the outside but I was still underneath it and it was laying flat on the ground. Something was instantly different, though. A golden yellowish illuminating man figure was bending over the luggage carrier and reaching out with his arms as if he were poised to grabbed it and pull it off at any second. I nearly laughed when I realized what I was seeing. At first I thought it was Jesus but the form didn't seem like Jesus. Then I realized it was an angel. I was never in any danger at any time because the angel was there even if I couldn't see him. Are such childhood memories important? What do you think? Claustrophobia and fear of being trapped and apprehension of impending death are not of God. Not then, as a child, and not now as an adult. Was this memory effecting my life? You tell me. Now, when this memory comes to mind, I see the luggage carrier flat on the ground, knowing I am under it, but I always see this golden illuminated man poised to snatch it off of me at a seconds notice. This is what the Bible calls the renewing of the mind. I have no doubt this story has sparked similar memories in your own life. Jesus wants your mind devoid of all such unpleasant memories. If you allow Him, He can make your memories of such events perfectly whole. Do you need help finding the lie and hearing the voice of the Lord? I'll be glad to teach you how easily it works in your every day life.