When we encounter darkness...
The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness hasn't overcome it.
~ John 1:5
I remember waking up in the middle of the night when I was a small child. As I looked at the wall beside my bed, I glanced up at the mirror that hung just above the dresser. I suddenly froze when I seemed to have caught a glimpse of "something," just behind me! I couldn't move. I couldn't take my eyes off of whatever this "thing" seemed to be! I remember laying perfectly still, monitoring my breathing. Hoping that whatever "this thing was," would not realize that I was awake!
I stared at this shadow in the mirror for what seemed like an eternity. Of course at seven years old, two minutes seems like an eternity. I just couldn't move, and I was literally paralyzed by my imagination that was creating scenarios in my mind! Is it a stranger? A monster? Something that has yet to be discovered?
I'm not sure how long I watched the shadow, but I remember falling back to sleep. Obviously, I must have thought it better to be attacked and devoured by this monstrous shadow in my sleep!
In the morning I remember waking up and noticing a can of Lincoln Logs that my mother had sat on the dresser. THIS was the shadow that I saw as it sat next to the mirror. I remember feeling "relieved" and "stupid" all at the same time. After that night, I never sat anything on top of my dresser again.
Funny how nearly fifty years later I can remember so many things about that night. I can still feel the blanket that wrapped me, protecting me from whatever "that" was just beyond my bed. The fear, but most of all the darkness of the room.
My parents were not "night light parents." We were told early in life that there was nothing in the darkness that could harm us, but to a seven year old, staring at a shadow in the darkness, my imagination had not heard what my parents had told me.
In our faith we are taught that Jesus is the light. We are taught that not only that Jesus is the Light, but he is the Light of the World!
A few years ago I was sitting on the beach in Galveston, watching two children search the shoreline for shark teeth and shells. On the breeze I could hear the occasional moan of a ship as it passed, and of birds as they would run back and forth dancing, as each wave surrendered it's power to the shoreline, bringing treasures from the Gulf.
The darkness of night meant something else to these kids as they explored, laughed, and called out to one another as they would find something new.
In our faith, we struggle with light and darkness all the time. Even in the light of day, we are confronted by darkness in the things that we encounter. Bad things happen to good people, and we must find a way to resolve the experience.
Bringing the things that have caused darkness in our life into the light can sometimes be painful. In the morning as a seven-year-old I realized how silly it was to be afraid of the shadow of a Lincoln Log container, but as an adult, I realize that the darkness only lasts until the sunrise. The light exists so that we all may know that when we encounter darkness, the light will soon return.
The Light of Christ will always prevail.
Stay in God's grip!
G. Todd Williams (c) 2019
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Rev. G. Todd Williams lives in the Houston metro area and is a Hospice Chaplain at Essential Hospice, Webster, Texas, and is an ordained Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) pastor.