I still believe God is good and faithful. I still believe He is sovereign and in control. I still believe He is present and kind. I still believe He loves us.
But I’m also sleeping with the lights on in my hallway. I’m drifting through days in a state of something between numb and angry. I’m wondering if the events of the past week will ever feel real, and I’m half-hoping they will and half-hoping they won’t.
I saw pieces of the world this week that were dark. Pieces I knew were there but of whose bitterness I hadn’t tasted. It wasn’t any less real, I know, before I had held it so tightly in my own hands. But it somehow feels more real now. It feels nearer. It pierces just a little more sharply than a hypothetical darkness ever could.
I can’t talk about it really. Nothing happened to me. But it happened so near to me that it is impossible to deny its reality, and the echoes of it are loud enough to pull me from sleep though I lay exhausted. Have you ever watched a car wreck? That’s the best way I can think to describe it. I mean, we know car wrecks happen all the time, but they don’t generally have the power to etch themselves in our memories. Unless we watch the crunch of the metal. Unless we hear the shrill squeal of rubber against the road. Unless we swerve our own car to evade the disaster. That’ll stick. That’ll replay. That’ll cause 10,000 what ifs to swirl through our minds.
And if we’re not careful, that kind of thinking festers into fear. That kind of heartache will twist to darkness. And the darkness will do all it can to convince us that it has always been more real than the light. So I sit in my over-lit house like a four year old afraid of the dark. I’m not really afraid of the dark, I guess. I’m just afraid of what can hide in it. I’m afraid of the hopelessness that might slip in unnoticed. I’m afraid that bitterness might find a home. I’m afraid that barricades of isolation might erect themselves tall and mighty. I’m afraid that the light might become the hypothetical and that the darkness will close in – thick and real.
The looming shadows do all they can to distract us from the fact that they produce nothing of their own – they only exist because they block the light from coming in. So I look at the imposing shadows, and I tell them they should be the ones afraid. Because light is real, and darkness can only survive if we forget it.
So I’m still sleeping with the lights on. But maybe it’s not only because I’m afraid of the dark. Maybe I also want to make sure the darkness knows I’m onto it.
Yes, darkness has pierced my aching heart. But I know the One who pierces darkness. And I trust He’s on His way.