Oppressive Darkness

Can you see the hands reaching out in the above photo? As a hospitalized four-year-old, I often extended my hands beyond the bed rails late at night, imagining I could touch my parents. Truth be told, I repeated this nightly imagining a decade later when I returned to the hospital of my youth for a spinal fusion of T-1 through L-1.

Pain made darkness feel like layers of heavy quilts, an apt comparison to the 60+ pounds of plaster of Paris that cocooned me from July, 1960 to May, 1961. I have no personal photos, but this google image may help you visualize.

If the image were larger, you’d see the “halo” that surrounded my head, and understand why I cannot tolerate anything from heavy blankets to tightly tucked in sheets! I am trapped; stealthy as ever, the darkness creeps in palpably.

I suspect you know such feelings — whether their origin stems from grief, pain, fear, abandonment, or other forms of suffering. The Bible conveys the visceral nature of darkness multiple times.

Darkness covers the face of the deep in Genesis’ creation narrative. Exodus 10:21, in recording the plague just before the killing of the first born, speaks of a darkness that Egypt felt for three days. Both the Exodus and Deuteronomy renderings of the giving of the Ten Commandments describe “thick darkness.” While Christ hangs on the cross, the whole land goes into darkness from noon until 3 PM. And in Revelation 16, the beast’s kingdom is plunged into darkness.

And yet…light dispels darkness. The psalmist sees this truth centuries before Christ’s birth.

“For it is you who light my lamp; the Lord my God lightens my darkness.”

Take some time before Easter Sunday to investigate the One called the Light of the world. And I do know that Easter falls on April Fool’s Day this year!

But I love the words of Jim Elliot, missionary, who along with four others, died trying to tell the Auca Indians about Jesus.

3 thoughts on “Oppressive Darkness

  1. You know, I’ve had read and digest these meditations and remembrances, Flo. Your comments are valuable – but the pictures of the young, brave child you were go deep. Thank God for your deliverance through good doctors, and praising God for the preserving power of His word in a young heart. I am so touched by what your parents endured as well. Theirs is an object lesson:Why should we never skip teaching our kids Scripture – because we have NO way of knowing the battles they face – early on or later on.


    • I want to thank you for encouraging me to write again. I find I Cor. 1:3-4 my motivation also.
      My parents waged battles mom spared me from knowing until I was in my 30s, and Dad died a week before my 30th bday!
      I am thinking some about grieving but with others in mind. I don’t want to write a pity blog though I have had regrets about abilities lost. Instead, I thank the Lord for all He poured into my life.


  2. Pingback: A Crime Series Spins a Web of Pain and Purpose - Autumn's Garden

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