Tuesday, March 13, 2007

I USE TO BE AFRAID OF THE DARK

Most children are afraid of the dark. But I think my fear of darkness was more intense than the average child. So, when I started losing my eyesight at the age of ten, my fear level increased dramatically. I found myself being surrounded by perpetual darkness. I was afraid every moment of the day, simply because of the deep shadow that loomed around me that seemed to never disappear.

Quite naturally, as I matured into a young woman, my fear of physical darkness faded and I learned to not tremble and faint over the darkness that followed me daily. I am not going to pretend like darkness doesn’t heighten my need to be more alert and careful, but I am glad that I am not imprisoned by the fear of darkness like I was for so many years.

Looking back on my childhood fears, I now realize why most people are afraid of the dark. The uncertainty of what lurks in the dark seems to put people on edge. It’s not really the darkness that is frightening. The unknown possibilities that hide in the darkness are what we are afraid of. As we become adults, we may leave our fear of a dark room behind. But our fear of unknown possibilities and uncertainty typically follows one into their adult life.

The night of August 2, 2002, I came face to face with one of the most challenging and daring events of my life, so far, that is. That unforgettable night, I found myself in a very dark and frightening situation.
When I arose that unforgettable Friday morning, I presumed that particular Friday was going to be like the many Fridays that had come and gone. I would get up and go to my job with more peace than I had Monday through Thursday. Simply because Friday was the day that connected me to my two days off from work. But I was in for a rude awakening. That Friday would usher in a heap of changes and challenges that seemed to be insurmountable.

After finally counting down the hours that led to the end of my work week”, I celebrated by meeting a childhood friend for dinner. Since my friend and I seldom have a chance to spend time with each other, I relished every minute. Before I knew it, hours had tiptoed by.

Midnight was approaching. I knew I should be headed home. I called my mother to let her know that my friend was about to bring me home. However, my mother, being the protective, selfless woman she is, preferred to meet us halfway, so that my friend did not have to drive the entire way back to her apartment alone. My mother immediately left our home and headed out to meet my friend and me.

Upon arriving at the meeting spot that we all agreed would be the most convenient and safest to connect, my friend informed me that my mother was already there waiting for me. I greeted her and jumped in the car, ready to get home to my bed.
After being in the car for only five minutes, I detected that something was not right. Our car began to swerve across the busy lanes of the expressway. I initially thought my mother had fallen asleep. I called her name and nudged her. But we swerved again. She was not responding to me. The car violently swerved again and again. I held on to the door of the car with my right hand, bracing myself for a possible crash, while continuing to scream her name. Strangely, she still would not respond to the shouting of her name. Miraculously, the Lord allowed my mother to pull the car off to the side of the lanes. But still, she was not responding to my persistent request to tell me what was wrong.

I grabbed my cell phone and called 911. I told them that I believed that my mother was having a stroke or a heart attack. Sadly, because I could not tell them exactly where we were, they could not dispatch emergency officials to help us. My heart sank and fear wrapped its dirty claws around my neck.

The 911 operator asked me to hold the phone while she and emergency officials tried to locate us. With my cell phone tucked between my shoulder and ear, I jumped out of the car and feverishly waved my hands, but no one would stop. Then I jumped back into the car and tried to encourage my mother to hold on and to cling to life. Then suddenly, my cell phone battery went completely dead. I panicked. My only drop of hope had evaporated when the one person that was trying to help me was suddenly disconnected from me.

I almost fell into a heap of despair, but I knew I had to get help for my mother. I lunged out the car and began waving my hands again, but this time I added screams and tears. However, the roar of the rushing traffic was the only thing I could hear. There were no sounds of sirens coming near. Nor was there the sound of a car pulling over. At this point, I did not know if my darling mother, who I love so dearly was alive or dead. My phone would not work, and I couldn’t run for help. I felt so alone. The fear of my mother dying right there on the side of the freeway assaulted my mind. Likewise, the fear of being left on the side of the freeway with the never stopping traffic all night, without anyone to rescue me, swelled in my heart. My very being was being crushed underneath the increasing weight of fear.

Then suddenly, the Holy Spirit touched me and reminded me of the many scriptures that I have learned and believed in most of my life. I remembered that God promised in His word that He would never leave or forsake me. I remembered that the name of the Lord is a strong tower and the righteous run in and they are safe. I remembered that God would respond to the cries of His children. I begin to scream the name of Jesus as loud as I could. Tears poured from my face like a rushing river. I screamed and screamed, with the assurance that God would respond to the cries of His child.

After only a few minutes of calling on the name of my Lord and Savior, someone pulled over and called 911 and gave them a location. Upon arriving at the hospital, I found out that my mother had suffered a massive stroke. But praise God, she is still alive and God is healing her every day.

Looking back on that seemingly dark night, I now realize that God was indeed present when I felt so fearful and alone. For example, God could have allowed my mother to suffer the stroke before she picked me up. If that happened we probably would have not known for hours where she was. Secondly, when my mother started having the stroke while driving, we could have been involved in a terrible accident, severely injuring or killing both me and my mother and maybe someone else. I now realize that God’s hand was still controlling the series of events that night. Although we were in a chaotic situation, God still wrapped His arms around us and protected us from danger.

We, the children of God, must understand that God will protect us from the eternal destruction that hurt, harm, and danger can bring. The tragedies and disappointments of life may, in fact, dim our vision making it seemingly impossible to detect the presence of God. But we must believe, beyond a shadow of any hint of doubt, that God is indeed present in the dark times of life. He, in all His faithfulness, will never forsake His children. There is no reason why we should be afraid.

1 comment:

Heber Brown, III said...

SIMPLY FASCINATING! Your beautiful ability to describe this chapter of your life put me in the backseat of the car with you and your mother. Great sharing and wonderful spiritual encouragement to round it all out.