Written by Mary Kay Huck
Several years ago, our family of four and the family dog ventured to spend a couple of days (which requires a night, unfortunately) in the mountains near Georgetown, Colorado. A beautiful drive, wonderful fishing, a cozy campfire, and the security of a tent. Or so I thought.
When the night was at its blackest, I awakened. With great effort I pulled my hand out of the sleeping bag and placed it in front of my face. Nothing. I blinked my eyes to make sure they were open. They were, but the blackness surrounded me. Actually, it suffocated me. Then I realized I couldn’t move my legs—the dog was using them as her bed.
My claustrophobic mind instantly went into survival mode and decided that I must leave the tent. I had to find some source of light. I fumbled with the zipper of my sleeping bag. Of course, the fabric was caught in the teeth. Giving up, I dragged my feet from underneath the dog and slipped out the top. I clawed my way toward the tent opening. My husband and the dog awakened as I crawled over them with no regard. “I have to get out of here!” I whispered through panicked breaths.
“Why?” my husband asked hoarsely.
“I have to see some light. It’s too dark in here!” Thankfully, we’d been married long enough he knew this was evidence of a panic attack. Sometimes he can talk me through them, but not this one. This was a biggie. I finally managed to crawl through the opening of the tent. Freedom. But—there was no light. No moon. No stars. No city lights. Only more blackness.
I groped back inside the tent for the flashlight. By now my husband had decided he had better help and was crawling out of his own sleeping bag. Of course his zipper worked. He knew right where the flashlight was and handed it to me. This had better work, I thought. It did in the garage before we left. Why is it that flashlights tend to quit at campsites and during electrical outages? They should be labeled, “WARNING: In case of EMERGENCY, batteries will not work.”
Aha! Light! Not bright, mind you, but light!
“Are you okay?” my husband asked as he joined my side. He was trying so hard to be supportive, but I knew he wondered what kind of crazy woman he’d married.
“Better,” I said shakily, trying to slow down my runaway heart. “I just had to get out of there.” The beam from the flashlight gave me comfort. But soon it wasn’t enough light. The beam was short and only shone a few feet ahead. Darkness still pressed in on me.
“Let’s go for a walk,” he suggested and took my arm.
I gripped the flashlight as we walked down the gravel path. The frail beam from the flashlight only gave us light for our steps. Even though I desired much more, it eventually became enough for me. I soon forgot about the surrounding darkness as I gathered comfort from the light.
“Thy word is a lamp unto my feet and a light unto my path.” – Psalm 119:105. In certain situations, God’s Word is like turning on the stadium lights in the ballpark. It knocks us off our feet and we see everything. But most of the time, it’s illumination to see only one step at a time. It’s all we need to go forward in safety and security. The darkness that presses in on us vanishes.
Eventually my panic subsided and we returned back to the tent. God had given me His Word and I knew I could get through the remainder of the black night. I crawled back in and the dog thumped her tail to reassure me as well. I closed my eyes once more to a sleepy blackness. However, I kept the flashlight in my hand.
Photograph Courtesy of Marcel Hol
Today’s guest, Mary Kay Huck, blogs at Smooth Paths. She is a pastor’s wife who loves to read, write, walk her two dogs, ride horses, drink coffee with her husband on the front porch, listen to her two grown children and daughter-in-law share their lives, play the piano, and listen to classical music. Her husband, Gaylen, is the Pastor of Cheyenne Hills Church in Cheyenne, Wyoming. Mary Kay heads up the Hospital Visitation Team at the church and with Gaylen, leads a small group of young couples with small children. She works part-time as an accountant for the Cheyenne Symphony Orchestra. Mary Kay and Gaylen live on 5 acres in Wyoming with their one horse, two dogs, and one cat.