“Only in the darkness can you see the stars.” Martin Luther King Jr.
I’m a big, fat, wet my pants, chicken.
I am woman enough to admit it. Once I become spooked by something, it is very hard for me to recover. When I was 9 years old I went and saw the movie Gremlins….there was one particular scene where one of the freaky things came up out of a toilet. I swear I didn’t use the bathroom for 3 weeks.
I’m a chicken.
Right at the top of the list of things that freak me is darkness. Not knowing what it is going bump in the night is a great cause of panic for me. In the light I can see what is around me and I am confident, but in darkness…. in darkness I am vulnerable and very unsure.
A couple months ago I was forced to face this fear head on. While on a very routine, easy 13 mile hike, one of my hiking mates succumbed to a knee issue and our pace was cut dramatically slow. So slow in fact that we were left to hike the final two and half mile in the dark.
The all consuming, VERY real, TOTAL dark.
As we donned headlamps and made the final stretch of miles to the end, I was in full panic mode. Hiking during the day with Bears, snakes, and wild hogs does not bother me, but at night….well that was a whole new game. During the day I could see the obstacles and creatures that loomed before me. Now I had to trust what little light I had.
The more I walked in the darkness the more I got used to being in it. It did not take long before I started noticing things I probably would not have noticed had it been daylight. The colors of the rocks in the dark with just my little headlamp shining on them, the sounds of the forest as it breathed in the night, and the calmness and vastness of my surroundings.
Suddenly, I felt peaceful….almost content. How could that be? I was in the DARK????
As finally made it to the end, it was then that I looked up and I saw the most brilliant display of stars I had EVER seen. The gleam and the twinkle they gave off was more beautiful then any sparkle a diamond could give. It almost didn’t look real.
Have you ever gone to a planetarium where you sit in your comfy theatre style chair and you crane your neck to took up at the replication of the sky? That is totally what I saw…but I was looking at the REAL thing.
It finally occurred me…..
Darkness doesn’t have to be such a scary thing. Even during the uncertainty of not being able to see where I am going, and not fully knowing what is going on around me, there is still a beauty and calmness that can come with it.
My fears are many…but my God is bigger. There are times I struggle, panic, and worry about the road I am on. Darkness engulfs me and I am left to find my way out. I become so paralyzed with my own fear that I sometimes don’ t notice that God is there…. showing me that there is beauty….even in the darkness.
Next weekend I will purposefully tackle my fear of darkness when I walk 5.5 miles up the mountain to see the sunrise. While I am anxious, nervous, and yes, a little panicky, I know that the darkness, while vast and all consuming is not without it’s beauty. I know that the stars will remind me that no matter my fear, no matter the path my life takes, no mater the circumstance, God is always with me…. guiding me…. even in the darkness.