Message 18 – The Big Nothing, 8/24/09


“Don’t be afraid of nothing. There is nothing to be afraid of.”
“Don’t be afraid of your own shadow.”

When Jason was 10 years old, at the time Chuck and I were separating, he asked me to tell him a story in the middle of a blackout. He loved being told stories, especially “scary” ones at night. I was so amazed at the story that we co-created that I wrote it in my journal I kept about Jason. The story is attached. I had it next to my laptop and had planned to write it up these last few days.

This morning I was going through the box Jason kept bedside and found a poem on folded up paper that he must have written this past year, since I gave him the box a year ago. It was about the big nothing. Lost my breath once again.


In wet
Plunging down
the deep unknown

Not knowing what’s
In front of you
or behind

into nothing
Not knowing what’s there
and what’s not

and everything
is there for the use
of no one

Behind of something
in front of nothing
while you drop relentlessly

Two in front of nothing
and from nothing I’m behind

Leaving the scent
of the light
from the liquid behind you

Up above you
Where the light shows bright
You’re being brought

the scent of the brightness
that you had once lost
And finding it shattered

Free to go, I suppose
as I get sucked down
And shot to the sky

I hover over
the sea
And watch it fly by

Two in front of nothing
And from nothing I’m behind
As I’m sucked down from my steady pace
Contained in a big black nothing

- Jason Foster c 2008-2009

The Big Nothing
[Story told to Jason Foster by mother Michelle Foster on a blackout night; Jason liked scary stories]
Once upon a time, there was nothing. Everyone was afraid of this nothing that kept getting bigger and bigger. It got so big that the villagers went to the Wise Woman of the village and told her “This nothing is something so big we are afraid it will destroy us.”
Before the Wise Woman could answer, a 5-year old boy asked the question “If this big nothing is something big why don’t we call it a something and not a nothing?” The Wise Woman smiled and said “You are very wise, my son, and we will call it Something from now on.”
The villagers left and continued to be in fear of this Big Nothing which had now become a Big Something. The fear got so great that they could not do anything but worry. They could not describe the Something other than it was getting so big they didn’t know what they could do to protect themselves, and in a state of panic they went back to the Wise Woman to ask her advice. The Wise Woman smiled at the villagers and told them to go down the road to the five-year old boy’s home and ask him what to do.
The villagers immediately ran down to the boy’s home and formed a line a mile long waiting to get advice from the Wise Boy. One by one the villagers asked the Wise Boy what they should do about the Big Something. One by one the Wise Boy laughed and told the villagers “Don’t be afraid of your own shadow.” One by one the villagers walked away, dazed in confusion and chattering loudly about what this could mean and how this could possibly help protect them from the Big Something. One villager noted that it was dark and there were no shadows at night.
They were so busy talking about what the Wise Boy said that they forgot to be afraid of the Big Something. One of the villagers reminded them that they have to stop talking and continue to find a way to protect themselves against the Big Something. The villagers immediately went back to the Wise Woman, forgetting all about what the Wise Boy had told them.
The Wise Woman received the villagers and asked them why they were so upset. “Didn’t you go ask the Wise Boy what to do?” she asked. The villagers looked very confused and told the Wise Woman what the Wise Boy had said, and that it made no sense to them. The Wise Woman gave them her loving smile once more and said “Your shadow is your greatest fear about yourself. If you run away from it, it will only get bigger and bigger.”
The villagers stood with their eyes wide open, and one by one they started to laugh. When the Wise Boy ran over to join them, the villagers had a big party. They knew then that there was nothing to be afraid of, that something was not to be feared, and that they had everything they needed.
The End