Sunday, September 18, 2011

Walking in the Dark

For a few years now I have developed a practise of walking in the dark. What I mean by this is I like to go for walks at night in places that are as dark I can find. Living in a large urban centre like Vancouver means that even when I go for a walk at night there are still plenty of city lights. So in my quest for darkness I find myself walking in places like beaches, parks, and the Iona Jetty (one of the best places in Greater Vancouver to see the stars). When I lived in Calgary, one of my favourite places I would go for a night walk was a retreat centre near Calgary called King's Fold. At night one could hike the river valley with just the light of the stars to guide you.


Night walks heighten my senses and allow me to listen better, smell more, and detect things I might normally miss. One must overcome a sense of fear for we are often taught to be afraid of the dark and there may in fact be some real danger. The valley of the Ghost River at King's Fold is home to predators such as bears and cougars and so my ears were constantly tuned for the snap of a twig when I walked this valley. Yet, such fear and heightened awareness can be a metaphor for life.


The life I live in Canada is really quite safe and secure. Most of the time I organize my life in ways that protect me and minimize my exposure to danger or the risk of loss. I have my keys and locks to keep out the "bad guy," "bogeyman," and "terrorist." I have my vitamins and disinfectants to protect me from disease and bed-bugs. I have my life insurance, RSPs, and stock investments to placate my fear of the financial future. I am fortunate to have so much. Many in the world have none of these things. They survive and thrive without all of these protections. Could I do as well if I were to lose all of my security blankets?


Walking in the dark reminds me that I am small and fragile in a big world of danger. It reminds me to put my trust in the right places. It causes me to pray and trust and love and hunger for something more. It reminds me that life is about risk; it is about taking chances when every fibre of my body cries for comfort and security. Where would I be if I had never taken a chance? Where would I be if I had taken more chances?


Walking in the dark reminds me that there are more sources of light than streetlights, sunshine, and flashlights. There is inner light which is a reflection of light that is far greater. There is a light in which we can walk that will bring light to any dark place.

No longer will you need the sun to shine by day, nor the moon to give its light by night, for the Lord your God will be your everlasting light, and your God will be your glory. - Isaiah 60:19 New Living Translation (NLT)


This is the message we heard from Jesus and now declare to you: God is light, and there is no darkness in him at all. So we are lying if we say we have fellowship with God but go on living in spiritual darkness; we are not practicing the truth. But if we are living in the light, as God is in the light, then we have fellowship with each other, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, cleanses us from all sin. - 1 John 1:5-7 New Living Translation (NLT)

1 comment:

  1. Great post Keith. I love being in places where our senses are so attuned to our smallness. I also love the ocean for that reason.

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