There is a beauty in the darkness of night, a quiet silent privacy.  I didn't always see that though.  Terrified I was of the dark as a young child.  Why, I don't really know.  I can't retrace it to any event that may have sparked my fear.  Maybe it just was there for lack of really understanding the dark.  My parents would ask me to go to the back, creepy part of the old, dark, damp basement to retrieve potatoes stored there or homemade canned goods or something out of the freezer.  I could instantly feel this fear grip me.  Trying to reason with it logically didn't ever seem to work.  So, I would with all the courage I could muster, run as fast as possible into my fear and right back out with item in hand.  The same thing would happen if I was told to go upstairs after dark by myself - palpable fear of the dark, the unknown there.  I couldn't see like in the light.  Outside of my bedroom window on the farm, there was a tall, slender kind of scraggly pine tree.  It didn't have much aesthetic beauty like a white pine or a majestic blue spruce.  By appearances it had weathered some storms, housed the birth and death of quite a few birds, and seemed almost tired.  It also leaned gently toward the house - specifically toward the bedroom that I shared with my two sisters.  That pine tree made its own unique rustling and whispering sounds when breezes came.  It was a comforting, restive sound to my ears during the day.  But at night, all things changed for me.  One particular night laying in the bottom bunk of the bed I was struggling with fear - fear of the dark, the shapes and shadows cast outside of the window that I couldn't distinguish.  You just don't have a grip on absolutes as kid.  With lightening speed I crawled into my eldest sister's bed for comfort.  She had a way of making me feel safe immediately.  I told her that the dark was frightening to me.  Lovingly she said, "Lynn, you know things in the dark don't move.  They are exactly where they are in the light.  That tree looks just like it does in the day - it's just surrounded by night right now."  Recently I reminded her of those words she spoke to me long ago.  She says she doesn't remember saying such a wise thing to her little kid sister.  But, she did and it changed my perspective hugely that night and many other dark nights that would come later in my life.  During one of those dark nights of my life I ran across a book, Night Shift by Dave Shive.  He is an unknown author and you could clearly pick up in his writing that his night shift was still occurring.  It wasn't a polished book by any means, but his struggle still being fresh for him, transpounded off the pages.  The book equates these dark times in our lives as the blackest and hardest work shift - the night shift.  The night shift is not usually associated with first choice in work preferences.  He laments the fact that fear wants to take us over during those night shifts - when you cannot see and know what you do in the daylight.  The book took me once again back to my sisters words so many years ago.  The author goes on to show that actually, according to scripture, the night shift workers are God's favored shift workers.  He allows them there because he trusts them with something that isn't found during the day.  There is a specialness found in God when we are fearful in the dark of circumstances, emotions and heart.  Presently there are some fears in my life.  They seem to want to say how scary, unknown and sometimes overwhelming things are in my life.  I remember being a kid, my fear of the dark caused me not to see the special quiet and stillness that is found only at night.  It wasn't frightening after all, but comforting and serene.   It's like letting your eyes adjust after coming from brilliant sunlight to a dark room.  God is still there.  And I think, showing us more grandly in the dark than the light, that He is the stillness we need for our fears.   Everything is exactly where it is in the light even though its dark. We just can't see it with our eyes.  I love the quote from the movie "Monsters Inc.", "You and me, me and you, both of us together."   That's God in the dark nights of our lives - still there in the darkness with us.

1 comment:

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