As a child, I wasn’t bothered by monsters under the bed. What scared me was the guy hiding in the closet. I knew that as soon as I fell asleep, he’s slide the door aside, tiptoe over to my bed and stab me. Lucky for me, he left when I realized that no self-respecting bogey-man would wait until I was asleep. Where’s the horror in that?
Funny how 40+ years later, I’m still sometimes afraid of the dark. To be more accurate, I’m afraid of what might be hiding in the dark. Last summer, I drove out to a neighborhood park for an early morning walk/jog. The eastern sky was just beginning to lighten when I parked the car. Thirty minutes later when I returned, my window was smashed and things inside had been tossed around. Someone had been lurking in the dark shadows.
Recently, I’ve returned to the park for early morning jaunts. As the days have grown shorter, the darkness lingers nearly to the end of my walk. But I’ve faced my fear enough times that it no longer controls me. I actually look forward to those mornings when I make the two-mile loop through trees silhouetted in moonlight. Bright stars blink in familiar constellations against a night sky as deep as the sea, and the grassy expanse in the center seems lit by a silvery glow.
I am not alone. Here and there on the trail, I meet another jogger or runner. An occasional car passes by on the streets that border the park, but it’s not the roar and hustle of traffic that comes an hour or two later. I enjoy the peace, the quiet, the time to think and appreciate the beauty that hides even in darkness. And as I round the last corner to head back to my car, I see the hint of daylight in the east.
Maybe that’s what I like best about my journey through the darkness–the promise of light at the end. That’s tough to remember when life surrounds us with darkness. But the dawn will come, because the Son has already risen.