Thursday, November 21, 2013
Pitch black darkness with absolutely no light is, well, scary to say the least. I experienced it backstage recently before a performance. As I was mentally going over my lines, I went into the dressing room. I opened the door to leave, turned out the light and walked down the hall. I was going over and over my lines in my head. Suddenly, I realized I was in pitch black darkness with no light ahead or behind. I got disoriented and began to panic. I reached to a side wall, and felt my way back to the dressing room and turned on the light. When I did, I noticed that the door to backstage was much farther down the hall than I had realized when I initially walked through it to enter the dressing room.
A few years ago, I was working late at our bookstore and was very tired after a long day. I closed the store and drove down Georgia Avenue into Augusta to deliver some boxed online orders to the post office. As I drove past Grace United Methodist Church, the delightful festivity of “Return to Bethlehem” was infectious and I began to sing Christmas carols as I approached the 13th Street Bridge. The star of Bethlehem, that year, seemed to light up the darkness of the night sky like a lighthouse. As I approached the Georgia side of the bridge, there were no other cars except mine and a car driving slowly onto the bridge from the Augusta side.
The car stopped on the bridge in the right lane. A young woman got out and began walking onto the bridge. As she walked she began stripping off her clothes and took them all off including her shoes and began running on the bridge. I made a U-turn and pulled up beside her as she began to run over the river. I asked her if I could do anything to help. It was very cold, and I asked her to get into my car, and I would take her anywhere she needed to go. She looked at me with a crazed look in her eyes that I had never seen in another human. Then she jumped. Thank God I had talked her over the river, and when she jumped, she landed in the brush on the North Augusta side. I drove to where I could park, and ran to the place on the bridge where she had jumped.
Everything seemed to be in slow motion. Not far away, the star of Bethlehem lit up the night, driving the darkness away. This woman seemed lost in darkness and was running desperately for the light. I called out to her to no avail. After the police found her, I shared the light of Christ with her and gave her a Bible.
This Thanksgiving, I am especially thankful for the light of Christ and how his light effectively destroys darkness along with its accompanying fear.
“In the beginning the Word already existed. The Word was with God, and the Word was God. He existed in the beginning with God. God created everything through him, and nothing was created except through him. The Word gave life to everything that was created, and his life brought light to everyone. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness can never extinguish it.” John 1: 1-5
Dianne Brady is an author and speaker and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.