I'm not who I was.
The Rev and I had sponsored a child from the Dominican Republic for almost half of our lives together… since we were teenagers. Several months ago, it was time to select a new child to sponsor.
Prayerfully, I logged onto the Compassion International web site. Just for fun, I typed in J’s exact birth-date, year and all. There was only one child in the system: one little 8-year-old girl, born on the exact same day as my little 8-year-old girl. She lives in India, and she had been waiting about a year for sponsorship. She became ours.
After a couple of initial communications, I thought it would be fun to give J the opportunity to write to Muskan. She already prays for her every night. I was curious to see what J would come up with. Her note was brief, with small mentions of things such as sports and nature. But it was the last little bit, having nothing to do with anything else in the letter, that got to me:
“Are you scared of the dark? If you are, it’s ok. I get scared of the dark a lot too. I love you.”
That was the end.
Everyone feels the fear of darkness at some point. Each person walks through shadows. Although that which is faced in the darkness may vary vastly from person to person, it all seems big and uncertain and terrifying under the heavy cloak of beyond blackness. There are no bearings: no way to tell what’s what or who’s who, or if anyone else is around at all. Isolation is the name of the beast allowing the darkness to be ever-more consuming… nowhere feels safe, nowhere left to hide but inside of oneself.
The beauty is, light penetrates darkness. Sometimes all a person needs to see is a little flicker of hope to know that they are not alone… a spark of solidarity to ignite the loving fire of community ablaze. An 8-year-old girl of Indian poverty needs to know that she is not alone. That there is hope of the perfect love that casts out all fear. And she will. Because an 8-year-old girl of USA privilege still fights her own fears… different, but the same: all darkness. Yet the God-light in her brings hope. Connection. Community. The presence of relationship.
Your darkness may be consuming you. You may be very afraid. But don’t hide your light inside of yourself. Timidity on the inside can turn to bravery on the outside when light lets loose its warmth, unbound to melt the cold, hard hearts. Let loose your lights. They will inspire others to breathe new life upon their flames, consuming the darkness, and revealing the truth that not one is alone.
Darkness cannot win in the presence of light. It will be all-together overtaken.
Are you afraid of the dark? It’s okay, I get afraid of the dark a lot too. I love you.