Yesterday I stepped out into the grey moonlight and watched as my passing cast a shadow in the pale light. There is a silent beauty in moonlight that is peaceful and calming, and the moonlit mornings of the past few days have been a welcome relief from the dark of night that seems to hover thick and close when we head to the barn before dawn. Even before the time changed we stepped out into the dark each morning and headed to the barn, but since then the blackness of night seems even more intense as we walk out into the morning almost two hours before sunrise.
For years I have struggled with poor night vision and there are some moonless mornings that I am almost afraid to move because I cannot see the ground or much more than an arm’s length in any direction. I know the path and I trust that the ground will remain solid under my feet, but walking in the dark is still frightening. I have stumbled a few times over little things like a water hose left out or tumbleweed that has blown in the path, but I have not fallen. I just stumbled, regained my balance, and continued to walk and yet, I still face fear every morning when I step out the door.
I have made it to the barn many times in the dark, and my mind knows that even if I were to fall, it is very unlikely my injuries would be more than a few scrapes and bruises – a fall would not be fatal. But it would probably hurt – at least a little – and that is enough for me to want to avoid walking in the dark, so most of the time we carry a small flashlight to light the way before us. It does not completely dispel the darkness, but it does give light to my feet and since I know where I am going, that is enough.
There have been times when I faced other dark paths in my life – times when I was afraid to move because I could not see the path in front of me. The whole world seemed dark the day we brought my oldest son home from the hospital and stared down the dark path of a world where brain damage was a reality. The day my husband died I felt like I stepped into a fog, and there was no light on my path the day my youngest son was missing – lost in a city a thousand miles from home.
However, there are some things I have learned about dark journeys:
1. I cannot get very far if I do not move, so sometimes I just have to step out into the dark and trust the foundation on which I stand.
2. I don’t always walk gracefully, I have stumbled a few times, indeed many times, but I have not fallen, and it is a great comfort to know we belong to One who is able to keep us from falling. (Jude 1:24)
4. His word is a lamp unto my feet and a light unto my path. It may not always completely dispel the darkness, but it gives light in a dark world.
Although dark paths may still seem scary and my heart may still tremble and quake when the world turns black, I know there is no need to fear dark paths, for He knows where I am going and that is enough.
Yea though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil; for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me. ~Psalm 23:4