Running from Shadows
When my grandparents retired from farming, they kept 640 acres of their property near the tiny town of Seibert, Colorado, and also the house that my grandfather built.
On occasion, we would return to Seibert for festivals, celebrations, homecomings, and the like, and when we did we would stay in the old farmhouse.
When we returned to stay there during our visits, we had to rough it because there was no running water or electricity and the only bathroom was an "outhouse" in the abandoned chicken coop.
I hated going in there to do my business, especially at night. The place was pitch dark, and even a flashlight didn't really make it any less scary. I always imagined creatures, snakes, or worse lurking in the shadows.
And so, on the rare occasions when a nighttime trip to the outhouse couldn't be helped, I would hurry as fast as I could and then run like the wind back to the house while the darkness closed in behind me.
I just knew I was being chased.
We all have those kinds of memories from our childhood---racing up the stairs from a gloomy basement or running away from noises in the bushes near a campsite...
But as we grew older, we began to realize that even though we no longer run from imagined bogeymen in dark corners, we are often disoriented by other kinds of darkness---the kinds that we can't seem to outrun.
The reason why those memories came to mind today was because of this amazing quote that I found in Steven Charleston's latest book Ladder to The Light.
Charleston, an Episcopal bishop, and elder in the Choctaw Nation had this to say about the darkness we face during these uncertain times.
The dark places can appear slowly or suddenly, but either way they cover us in a fog of doubt, leaving us feeling alone. It is at this moment that faith becomes our compass, for it reminds us that darkness is only a detour, never a destination. These small corners are not the true landscape of our lives. They cannot contain the power of love.
The line that I love the most out of that amazing quote is, "...for it reminds us that darkness is only a detour, never a destination." Come on! How amazing is that?
Additionally, as we find ourselves in yet another moment of uncertainty with a global pandemic that continues seemingly unabated at times, it's comforting to know that the darkness of anxiety, worry, and dread are only "small corners," in our lives. They don't get to dominate our landscape.
And they are not our destination---not by a long shot. You and I are headed toward brighter locales, and the faith and trust we have in the grace-filled, Spirit-soaked purposes of God will lead us there.
I don't know what dark corners might be dominating your thoughts right now, but I want to speak this into your life, if I may. The darkness doesn't get to win. It might seem like it sometimes, but it's not true.
Keep moving. Put one foot in front of the other, and there will be a day when you realize those dark corners are far behind you, and there's more besides...
You see, when you stop and look back at those dark places, you'll realize how small and insignificant they were all along in comparison with the vistas of glory that are all around you.
You'll realize you had nothing to fear all along.
May this be true for you today and every day forward. And may the grace and peace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you now and always. Amen.