On a recent trip to an impoverished country, I found myself awake. Sleepless. I wasn’t contemplating my fellow man’s plight, nor was I resolving to make a difference in the world. Honestly, I just had to pee.
The complicated part of that, for me at least, is that I don’t see in the dark well. I could illustrate this a hundred ways, but I’d prefer if you just trust me on this—if dark, I will Magoo my way into walls, down stairs, and any other conceivable object . . . (I was first made aware of this problem when, as a lad, I ran full steam into a chain-link fence during an outdoor game of hide-and-seek-in-the-dark. I hit the fence with enough force to cause red square indentations on my little crying face.)
With my wife asleep in our shared room, I didn’t want to turn the light on, so I took it slow and tried not to curse when tripped up. In this fashion, I felt my way to the restroom of the dormitory, on down the hall. Once inside, I thought about risking it, but out of common courtesy, decided it best to flip the light on.
I was not alone.
There in the sink was the absolute biggest roach I have ever seen (and I would argue that any human has ever seen). It was like a football with legs. Kids could ride on this thing at the zoo if all the tortoises were booked. The sheer immensity of the creature made me feel as if I should ask, “May I help you, sir?”
The roach was massive. Massive.
I urinated half-turned toward the sink, in case it decided to jump me like in an alien movie. I finished my business, and, no, I did not wash my hands, but rather kept them raised high, indicating no sudden movements, and inched out of the room. “You walk away and I’ll walk away . . .”
Now, again, I cannot see in the dark. But there was the faintest light in the bathroom, enough that I almost didn’t turn on the main light. Do my business, wash my hands, and head out. In this scenario, it is unlikely that I do not touch that enormous roach while hand-washing. And then an epic freak-out would have ensued—I’ll admit it; I’m not proud. But there is a chance I do my business, wash my hands, and avoid touching the roach altogether. I go back to bed, none the wiser to the giant creature I unkowingly encountered.
But here is the thing: even if I don’t see or touch the roach, it doesn’t change the fact of its existence. Whether the room is dark or not, he was there with me, occupying the sink space, watching the water under faucet hit my pale hands.
Over time I’ve come to realize sin is a lot like that. It crouches about the darkened areas of my heart, but I reason that it isn’t there at all. As long as I keep it nice and dark, or just avoid that space altogether, it doesn’t exist—or will just go away.
But it doesn’t and it won’t. It is there, and with proper light comes proper action—and hopefully a large enough shoe to accomplish proper action.
I hate roaches. I really do. Perhaps someday soon I will learn to hate the roaches in my heart just as much.