Facing Our Inner Demons

HALLOWEEN 2016: BY CHARITY BISHOP

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Do you ever contemplate what you might be like if you took a path other than the one you chose and wonder, how would my life be different? What about the darkness inside me? What might I be like if I gave into it? Do I look into it or glance away? Do I bring it into the light, and process it, or do I hide it deep in my soul, and pretend it doesn’t exist?

The Forest is many things: a B-grade horror film, ghost story, and a tale of sisterhood. Sara has spent her life as “the good girl,” often called into bail out her twin sister, Jess. She blames the difference in their behaviors in that her sister saw the after-effects of their parents’ murder-suicide when they were kids… and she shut her eyes. Once she enters Suicide Forest to search for Jess, who has been missing several days, Sara must “look into the darkness.” She tries not to. Sara shuts her eyes. She tells herself, “This isn’t real. It’s all in your head.” Avoiding darkness destroys Sara.

The twins are alike but different, connected by a deeper bond than genetics. Jess is more adventurous but also vulnerable. She stares into the darkness regularly. Sometimes, she cannot wrestle with her demons. She’s tried to kill herself, several times. She brought a tent into suicide forest—what people do, when they’re not sure. But much like Nancy in The Shallows, only when confronted with the certainty of death does Jess realize how much she wants to live. She fights for her life.

Sara enters Suicide Forest to find Jess. She has no intention of dying… and then finds it more and more difficult to resist the forest’s demons.

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Many people wonder why “good Christian kids” grow up and fall away from faith. Perhaps it is because they failed to confront darkness, entering the world naïve and finding its allure intoxicating. Believers may isolate themselves when they should be unafraid of the darkness. We are not subject to it and have victory over it, in Christ. So why look away? Why hide it? Why pretend it does not exist? There is darkness in our world, corpses in the basement. We can look, fight through it, and survive… or pretend it isn’t real, look away from it, and die.

Pretending something isn’t real won’t make it go away. Ignoring it will only postpone confronting it. Sara uses denial to cope with childhood trauma; Jess delves deep into its shadows. Sight ends unseen threats. Once you confront your fears, they abandon you. The more you avoid it, the more you fear it, the more you deny it, the bigger it becomes.

Believers should fear nothing; instead, many fear everything.

Talk about the darkness. Confront your demons. Share them. Watch their hold over you fade. Hear from others with similar struggles. And you’ll never walk alone in The Forest.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Charity Bishop would dearly love to spend all her free time mulling over, theorizing, and philosophizing on the vast spiritual / moral lessons of cinema and literature, but alas, she must make a living, so her days are spent doing editorial work. She devotes her free time to babysitting her bipolar cat, writing books, blogging, and searching for spiritual truth in all aspects of life… when she isn’t editing Femnista!

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