Midnight on the Choptank

18 12 2010

Midnight Dock

MIDNIGHT ON THE CHOPTANK

It was quiet on the Choptank River, especially compared to the energy infused air of early evening as the youth made there way to an Eastern Shore farmhouse for a weekend retreat. But now…now the wave of youthful excitement was settling into still waters and my introverted-self needed some alone time. So, I grabbed my camera, a tripod, and headed to the dock that stretched out into the Choptank. It was midnight.

On the dock, peaceful waters surrounded me – flowed beneath me – and I took a deep breath…peace. After taking in the serenity of the moment, I focused my camera down the length of the dock and out across the Choptank to the far shore. C-l-i-c-k. With the shutter open a bit longer to gather the little light that was present, the digital image revealed the glowing lights of Easton, as they cast a deep yellow glow off the heavens and across the water.  Breathtaking. Nothing could overshadow this moment…except me.

As time floated by, my senses seemed to react to a caffeine-high brought on by that later than usual soda I drank. My radar, working overtime, was sending messages to my brain about strange sounds in this unfamiliar place…unexplained movement in the reeds along the shoreline. “Are there alligators in these waters? How quick can they strike from water versus from land?” In the darkness, my awareness was slowly but surely giving way to fear.

We all experience dark times – times when life seems to choke out all light. Experiences and situations press in on us – escaping seems impossible. Fear and despair slowly creeps in and our heart and mind yields. We wonder if past experience of peace and joy was just an illusion. Our living and our decisions come from an orientation of “not letting our ‘self’ being absorbed into the abyss”…into nothingness, instead of a place where we are confident that we are loved.

But just like standing in the dark on the dock out in the Choptank, there is light (although dim) – even at midnight…reaching out to include us. God is always working on our behalf – even during the midnight times of our lives. Love is always flowing…just like the waters of the Choptank flowing under my feet.

When fear and despair come calling, I think it is about orientation – where or to who will we turn our face? To who will we hand over our attention? It is hard not giving ourselves to the immediate…to what is pressing in on us…to old patterns…to the darkness creeping toward us. But just like the midnight sky, there is light. Maybe it is a matter of deciding to orient ourselves to the one speck of light we can see – waiting, being patient, and trusting with anticipation that our extended exposure will reveal God’s glowing light within and around us…breathtaking. And God’s light within us casts a hue across our lives – love we can’t begin to imagine. It’s about turning our face toward the Light.

But when there are those periods where we have no energy even to lift our eyes, let alone turn our bodies toward God’s light, what do we do? When we feel we have no light…no faith? We stand in the light of a fellow traveler…we allow them to have faith for us until we gain strength and we can see the slightest glimmer of hope. We lean on community, continually exposing our life and attention to the coming Light – trusting our experiences will be breathtaking…a light casting a hue of love over our life and casting out fear.

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