The light switch in my childhood room was by the door. My bed was all the way across the room. I was so afraid of the dark that I’d close my eyes before turning out the lights and walking across the room like I was playing some game from the Ellen Show where you make your way blindfolded through a labyrinth of toys and laundry. (Ellen, if you steal this idea, please don’t include Legos in the labyrinth. No prize is worth walking over Legos blindfolded. Not even tix to the Christmas show. Just sayin.) also: I was a big messy. Still am.
Six steps. That’s how far I knew I had to walk through the dark. Eyes closed tighter than Dave Ramsey’s wallet at a new car dealership. I chanted as I made my way across the room:
“Close your eyes, do not peek, if you open your eyes you’ll see the monsters in the dark! Shut them tight! You know they’re there! But if you can’t see them, you can’t be scared!”
About 3 feet from my bed I faced another fear: “what’s under my bed???” (Other than my dirty dish collection. Which was kind of an offering to keep the monsters from biting my feet just as I approached the dust ruffled canopy bed. So obviously a monster cave, it was ridiculous. What is wrong with people? Why build monster caves in little girls rooms? Oh right. I begged for a canopy bed. I was young and monster naive.)
Unfortunately, I couldn’t just climb into bed. My last feat of fear was to jump from far enough away with my eyes clenched tight to avoid any ankle biters.
I mostly made it to the bed.
Then there was the problem of shadows. I solved that with a flashlight and by hiding under the cover reading. (No scary books. Just the thickest ones I could find in the school library. Yup. I was that kid who picked books by length not covers or content. Hey, they doubled as monster bludgeons!)
I was also obviously: afraid of the dark.
That is, until I fell in love with stars.
The rule growing up was: come in before dark. (I was sure it was because that’s when the monsters started creeping their way into your house and all moms tried to get us in before being eaten.)
Let’s just say: I didn’t see stars very often. (Except one time when I fell down the basement steps. But that doesn’t count.)
Until, one day, we had a school field trip. To the planetarium. I admit I closed my eyes when they told us they were going to turn out the lights. But the voice of the teacherkept talking about the beauty of the changing night sky. I decided to peek. No monsters. But I closed them again in case they were trying to trick me. However, hard I tried, as the teacher described constellations planets and all the stories they tell I couldn’t keep my eyes closed. From Orion to Pleiades I fell in love. With stars.
Over time, my love for stars overcame my fear of the dark. As I grew up, I discovered why.
The stars declare God’s glory. The dark is where we most need to experience His glory!
1 Lord, our Lord,
how majestic is your name in all the earth!
You have set your glory
in the heavens.
2 Through the praise of children and infants
you have established a stronghold against your enemies,
to silence the foe and the avenger.
3 When I consider your heavens,
the work of your fingers,
the moon and the stars,
which you have set in place,
4 what is mankind that you are mindful of them,
human beings that you care for them?[c]
5 You have made them[d] a little lower than the angels[e]
and crowned them[f] with glory and honor.
The greatest story the stars tell is the glory of God. His light shining in our darkest nights.
As I’ve lived and out grown my canopy bed, I’ve had to face real monsters: depression, anxiety, surgeries, and my husbands horrible battle with advanced prostate cancer. But now, instead of eyes clenched tight and my head under a blanket, I look into the dark to be reminded of the glory of God even in my darkest nights. Some nights the stars seem dim. Some nights they blaze and staring at them can hurt my eyes. Some nights are too cloudy to even see them, but just knowing they are there gives me comfort.
The same God who created the stars loves me.
I may not like the dark, but I have come to love stars.
Today, I pray that you’ll join me in looking to the stars to wonder at their creator and his great love. If you are facing darkness and find yourself stumbling through a labyrinth of messes, sickness, pain, loss, relationship struggles, depression- insert your darkness here: I hope you’ll find the courage to open your eyes and listen and see the stories the stars tell. The story of all of us, and the God who loves us.
Dear lord, I do not like the darkness in me or in my life. Honestly? I still want to close my eyes and try to fool myself into not seeing it. (Btw: why isn’t avoidance a fruit of the spirit???just sayin. I have that gift. ) any way, lord, give me courage to open my eyes and wonder at your glory. Let me see my darkness and dark times as chances to see you shining bright. Help me to look up. Always. I love you lord and pray for each reader, that we would all find hope and light in the dark, whatever their darkness is- in you. In Jesus’ name- amen