Special Edition: Walking Through the Shadows To the Light

Mar 17th

I am starting the process of moving over blog posts from an old blog I used to have, so I don’t lose the thoughts and feelings that went into them. They are just random things that came up in my daily life that were significant to me.

 

When I was 13 years old I got my first “real” job – meaning the 1st one that didn’t involve babysitting – at a Christian camp ground. My duties were a lot of fun, and included serving food to groups of people who were there for conferences or meetings, cleaning up the dining room, food prep, working in the snack bar and helping clean up the cabins. When the kids weren’t on duty they were allowed to roam the grounds freely, utilizing the canoes, wandering the little island in the middle of the lake, using the obstacle course, etc. We lived two houses outside the main gate to the camp, and the entrance to what at that time, to a nervous 13 year old who was scared of the dark, the longest dirt road in the history of dirt roads.

This road was lined by some of the tallest trees I’d ever seen, and seemed to be taller and darker the further the sun got to setting, or prior to the sun rising in the morning. I had to be at work on Saturday mornings by 5:00 or so, and in the winter this meant that the sun hadn’t come up yet. My mom had offered a time or two to walk or drive me to work, but she’d ask me during daylight when I was feeling quite brave. By the time I stood under the streetlight by our driveway looking into the inky blackness that was the middle of the wilderness I must travel it was too late to get her out of bed and ready to take me to work before I would be late – and Cook hated it when we were late! I recall stepping into the shadows out of the light, every sound magnified by the roaring fear in my ears. Twigs snapping under woodland creatures feet, the rustling of the leaves in the wind turned into monsters stalking my progress. My breath would get raspy as I hurried along, walking as fast as my legs would carry me, tempted to run, but knowing that if I tripped on a loose stone and fell I’d hurt myself and nobody would know I was there unable to get up and I’d be stuck in the darkness for goodness only knew how long. If I could just get down the road and around the bend I knew there was a street light waiting with its golden halo of blessed light, so it was to that light I hurried, praying in my head and heart that God would get me there without the boogeymen leaping out of the night to get me. I always arrived, and was able to laugh off my fears as the sun came up, traveling the return trip with friends who would meet their parents near my driveway, laughing and forgetting for a time the morning walk through the shadows with the chills of panic racing up and down my spine. Until the next morning . . .

As a grown up I find myself traveling down dark roads many times, afraid of what is lurking in the shadows, but these are roads in my mind and heart, shadows cast by hidden pain from the past, fears creating monsters formed from words spoken rashly in anger or frustration. Walking down this road with the rocks creating stumbling points in my path, it is sometimes challenging to remember that at the other end of the darkness waits a halo of golden light, of understanding and love from those we fill our hearts and minds with. God is in control of the travels, and if we let Him lead us by thinking through how He would have us speak to the ones we love, and by learning from the lessons He sends our way as we stumble along, we will grow in Him and in our relationships that we have been blessed to be given. 

As the murky darkness surrounds my travels I must remember something very important. At the end of each of life’s struggles and challenges is a light of encouragement and love, for along the way though I may feel all alone, I am not. God is walking with me. Something that I have learned, sometimes the hard way, is that it’s not all about the great and powerful ME. When I hear of a friend having troubles, the first words out of my mouth should not be “What about me?” “But where do I fit in” or “Why is this happening to me?” It’s not! It’s not happening to me, it’s happening to my friend or my loved one and it’s nothing to do with me! It is my place as their friend to be their encouragement through their walk in the dark. By the same token, if I am sharing a problem I am having with a friend, I am looking for loving support and am hurt very much by a response of “What about me?” from them. We all travel on our own dark, dirt road at one time or another. Some of us walk it all the time as we find our way to where we are supposed to be, and some of us find our way to the light from learning the lessons sent with love from God, family and friends. I’m still walking the road as I learn valuable lessons in compromise, compassion, faith, loyalty, non-judgmental or unselfish friendship. I stumble and fall to my knees, humbled into slowing down even in the black of night, to listen to the rustling in the trees, for on that wind is carried the voice of God and the lessons of love that He sends.

Have you stopped to listen lately? Slow down to keep from falling and hear what it is that God is saying in the whisper of the breeze . . .

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