My earliest memories are of being afraid. I was terrified of sitting on the window sill after having been told a story that one of my relatives or family friends fell off a window sill and died. I was afraid of roller skating, because I might fall and hurt myself, I was afraid of ET when I saw him on TV, I was afraid of getting sick after touching terrapins and I was afraid of playing on the building site. I was afraid of being told off and afraid of my parent’s disapproval.
I was told about god as soon as I could understand, probably even before I could understand, I do not remember ever not believing in an all powerful being or not believing in heaven and hell. It is as if it was part of the fabric of who I was and how I thought. Well, it wasn’t as if, it was that way for a long time.
I was a small helpless and impressionable child, and I was full of fear about being bad and going to hell, even when I was around four or five. I know I was because I had a traumatic dream that is vivid in my mind to this day, it is a dream that has come back to haunt me more than a few times and filled me with fear anytime I thought about it for a long time.
As I started to look for a way out, I started to notice more around me, there were strange windows like the ones you see in airplanes but these had shutters that opened and closed in a random sequence. These shutters had a serrated edge like a knife. There was a strange glow emanating from these windows and strange sounds that I couldn’t see the origin of. I couldn’t see anything from where I was standing, but I knew there was something at the other side of the wall.
I wanted to know what was behind that wall, I wanted to know what it was, I wanted answers, I wanted to look through the window even though there was a frightening serrated edge that could cut my head off in a flash. So, provoked by curiosity I stuck my head into one of the aeroplane like windows and I looked down at the origin of the glow at the other side. At the other side of the wall there was lava flowing, it was a sea of lava, with an island of red ground, I was staring at the lava for a few seconds, listening to it bubble and splutter. For a second or two I forgot that I needed to remember not to stay with my head in the gap for too long, then suddenly the shutter came down and cut my head off. I awoke with a jump.
I thought that must be what hell was like, it tempts you in through devilish curiosity and then all you feel is panic, fear and loneliness. From that young age, I was terrified of hell, I was terrified of the heat, the pain, the lava and I was afraid of being left behind because I wasn’t good enough. My dad had lost me somehow in that dream, perhaps he had been taken away in the rapture and I was left in hell.
Fear ruled my life from then on. I was afraid of sitting on window ledges, afraid of getting lost, afraid doing something naughty and the fear was evident in my dreams. The fear didn’t subside, it kept going, on into my adult life.