A light in the dark


There is no darkness in which light can't shine.

I’m going on my 32nd annual family camping trip this weekend.  Day after day of languishing in the sun on the beach, drinking in nature’s wonders.  Of course, the week of vacation is the biggest hotmessdedness royale with cheese you could ever order or run from.  After a couple days of scrambling, I was grateful for my mid-week treat: Singing.  I totally sing for the LorT.  And love it.  Praise him.

After rehearsal I went straight home instead of staying for mid-week service because I had to pack and prep for camping.  That essentially turned into me taking the following very efficient steps:

1) Grab mounds of clothes and place them on my dining room table;

2) Open closet door.

3) Stare at suitcase.

4) Close closet door.

5) Lay on bed.

As I lay there in soft lamplight, my little home was quiet, warm, with a light fragrance of lavender.  The ceiling fan’s breeze blew softly against my skin. Then, like the quiet roar of a distant siren a chilling sound assaulted my ears.

It was the muffled noises of a quiet scuffle.  Paralyzed, I listened to the sounds of flesh bruising flesh, thinking to myself, “How long before I am compelled to do something?  How long do I listen in this little peaceful bubble?”

As that thought slid away, the crack of gunfire broke my paralysis.

Unbelieving, I lay poised to move when her voice came in the night, from the darkness:

“Shoot me then.  Go ahead and kill me then.  Shoot me.”

As my heart raced with fear and my mind for a plan I unplugged my cell phone, slid off the bed and crawled into the hallway.

I slid an arm around each door to turn off the dining room, bathroom, and bedroom lights, securing myself in darkness.

Another shot rang out.

Several more.

Silence.

Plugged in my phone, closed all four doors to the narrow four by 11-foot hallway, and sat terrified and alone, on the floor in the dark.

I dialed 911 and whispered the explanation of what I’d heard, about 7 or more shots fired during a domestic disturbance.  They connected me to the sheriff who listened to the same story and guesstimated the address for my neighbors’ home.

All was still.

I called my brother who lives across the street.  He had heard the gunfire, asked if I was ok and explained he and my other brother, a security guard licensed to carry a firearm were on the way.

Finally, I returned my man’s call, who’d rang when the first shot was fired, and was on his way home from church.  He was moments away.  All three men showed up at the same moment, so my brothers made sure I was ok and left us alone together.

As I explained what had happened the light of the squad cars pulsed in the night beyond my shaded windows.  He held me as I cried and we sat in silence, basked in the golden glow of my warm living room.  It was now shrouded in a dark, heavy energy.   My brother called again to share what he’d seen of the sheriff’s stop, which appeared to be a cursory ground inspection for bullet casings and swift departure.  We prayed for peace and love to envelope my neighbor’s home, my home, my block.

As our spirits lifted, we began talking about spirituality and the question of religion: My passive-aggressive militant stance, up until earlier this year, included a staunch refusal to own or read the Bible.
As an obsessive reader, writer and English major who even loves reading the dictionary, this was wildly silly.  For most of my life I had mistakenly assigned religion the causal role in major world conflict instead of spirituality as the desired result.  Even today it is difficult for me to subscribe to the idea that there is only one path to spiritual enlightenment.
But that evening, as I suppressed violent images and fearful thoughts, there was only thing that brought me toward the peace we prayed for.
The certainty that this universe is not made of or driven by earthly beings bound by fear and anger.  The force behind life is the purest love, strongest power, deepest strength, unfathomable perfection.
Secure in His powerful arms, I slept soundly that night.
Grateful for another humbling reminder of His grace.
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One Reply to “A light in the dark”

  1. Awww love. I just happened to check your Facebook page and see this update. I am sending you a big virtual hug. I am thankful you have the love and support of your sweetie, your brothers and of course the Heavenly Father. -Lisa H. U.

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