The reason we struggle with insecurity is because we compare our behind-the-scenes with everyone else’s highlight reel. – Steve Furtick
I don’t see well in the dark. Actually, I don’t see at all in the dark. What I do in the dark is flail around trying to find a light-switch, the bed, a door . . . anything that will allow me to find myself. Of course we could tie this in all sorts of ways to life, but I don’t want to–especially in those darkened moments–all I want to do is find where I am going in the here and now. If there was something to take from these nightly escapades it would be a deeper longing for night vision. In those moments it is easy to be discouraged by the hand I’ve been dealt, as I stub toes or stumble into walls.
Last night, my wife got up from bed to visit the restroom. I was awake, though she didn’t know it. I rolled over and tried to sleep, but a scratching noise was keeping me up. I equate almost any noise in the night with an intense kind of murderer, so I flipped back around facing the door and clicked on my cell phone’s screen to light the darkened room.
There, at our closed closet door, was my wife frisking the door in search of an elusive knob. The knob wasn’t where she thought it should be because she was not where she thought she should be–in fact, she was a good ten feet from the door she wanted–the one that led to the hallway that would take her to the restroom. I don’t think she really intended a 2 AM wardrobe change.
“Wrong door, chief,” I said teasingly. She erupted with laughter and scurried to the proper door and out of the room. From down the hall, I could still hear her laughing at her own ineptitude.
And it made me feel better about my own weakness. The door she had found and opened was one that led to realization: I am not the only one who stumbles around in the dark! It is easy to feel isolated by my struggles, and hence to lose perspective on them and all the rest. Many people are destroyed by–or even fall in love with–their affliction in this way. We stumble around in the dark alone, bemusing our existence and the hands we’ve been dealt. When we pause to realize there are others like us though, the sensation changes.
Later that night I visited the restroom. On my way back, my arms operated like horizontal windshield wipers, trying desperately to keep my face from colliding with a surprise wall. It took me about three minutes to travel the five yards from the bathroom back to bed, and I smiled the whole way. I still don’t love that I can’t see in the dark, but I do love that I can’t see in the dark alongside the woman I love. It isn’t that I can’t, it’s that we can’t.
All suffering , all affliction, is this way. We’ll never love the grief we are staggering through or the sickness or the stress or the pain. Those are byproducts of this fallen space we occupy, and they are terrible and cruel. But warm is the touch of another. We were not placed in this place alone, nor do we have to walk the lonely road, at least not alone. The lonely road is populated, by our friends and neighbors and families, and with the light of them, it becomes apparent that the lonely road isn’t all that lonely at all and it never truly was.