Night

There’s a pocket of the night where you can see into another world. When I’m working the swing shift, watching over those who sleep, and the moon covers the earth in a silver sheen, I’m able to see through the darkness that normally threatens to morph into nightmares. I walk along the edge of a forest and see that most of the glowing eyes are not harbingers of doom. They aren’t one with the night, but have form of their own. Some of them slink along ditches and the creek bed, watching me for any sign of threat.

A word fills me: “I AM with you always.” I relax and go forward.

I meet some of those shapes who are lined with a white stripe of stink. They skitter around like lying politicians, threatening to defame those who disagree with them. I give them a wide berth, for here is a real threat; not of bodily harm, but how others will find me offensive due to another’s deception. I watch as they find their way to the dumpster.

This is my part-time job, holding down the fort and walking into the night while people slumber. It’s good, and bad, and certainly a different world in the moonshine. It’s kind of like my friend’s story. She calls herself a recovering (religion I won’t name). She said 100_1071she grew up in this church, believed in Jesus, knew who He was, but not until years later while she sat in a different place did she realize that knowing who Jesus is and knowing Him were two different things.

That revelation made all the difference. It was as if she stripped away the distractions that live under the sun, to finding His voice in the night. She now knows peace in the midst of trial, hope when all seems hopeless. “It’s like having a curtain removed from your eyes”, she said.

I think about this as I move on to the gazebo.

A raccoon fishes in the pond. He peeks at me for a small moment. He must recognize me and remember that I have a soft spot for his type of mask because he turns back to his fishing. He is bold and beautiful…I’m not sure that he isn’t an angel in disguise, keeping company with those of us that tread through the dark. I move on.

The flag whips around when a gust blows in. Its edges are tattered, but it never puts down its guard. As I look at this symbol that some salute and some defame, I understand why so many people think Jesus-followers are skunks. Those who speak in His name without really knowing him tend to repel people. I’m sure they mean well, and even intend to walk in goodness.

But you’ve got to be willing to follow Him despite the tattered and dark places, and for that, you really have to get to know Him.
Otherwise, the creatures who think I’m a threat, become the threat, and the night becomes one, big nightmare.

How do you enter this pocket of the night where raccoons might be angels?

For everyone who asks receives, and the one who searches finds, and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened. Matthew 7:8

Shadows

“Let’s catch a shadow”, I tell him as he pushes around his new bike. Royal blue, motorcycle style, it was the first thing he woke up to on Christmas morning.

This idea came after he had been waking up to shadows that haunted him. Shadows lit by his nightlight from behind a coat, a toy; these things that cast their images upon the wall morphed into monsters, sending him to get me at all hours of the night. “They’re bad shadows, Mommy.”

He pulls his bike onto the patio where I’m waiting with sidewalk chalk in hand. Suspicion paints his face in squints and I point out the shadows – Handlebars, peddles, chain. They stretch unnatural, but he sees the familiar as the sun lights the sky, warm on our backs. The only darkness right now is that shadow. “Okay.”

I take blue and trace. He holds the bike still and watches me capture the darkness 100_3251in his favorite color.

“Okay, pull it away.” I smile as he catches sight of it.

“Oh, yeah, Mommy. Let’s do Sissy’s  now.” He pulls over Chloe’s bike and I pick up pink and begin to trace. “Are you done yet, Mommy?” He moves the bike to see where I’m drawing.

He moves the bike back into position and waits. He’s excited now, watching these bikes loom larger than life.

“I’m done.” He moves the bike quick and delights at the two captured on the patio.

“More, Mommy.” We trace each other’s feet, our legs, and our faces pressed into the patio, hats crowning our heads.

For this day he gets to hold the shadows captive. This moment, he knows that the handle bars are not twice-the-size monsters, but darkness at the mercy of light.

12 When Jesus spoke again to the people, he said, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.” John 8:12