The dark room on a sunny day

If my little girl is playing on the living room floor, or maybe sucking on a bink, about to crash out in her crib, I just go about my business in the house. I might be getting showered and dressed for the day. I might write a blog post, or (rarely) load up the dishwasher. Either way, I know that she can hear and sense, that I am knocking about the house.

Thinking about her current experiences, laying in the crib not quite asleep yet, brings me back to my youth. I can remember laying on the made bed at our babysitters house. I probably had a light blankie to cover me. It would be midday and the lights were off, but the room was still bright.

The long curtains bounced against the open window as the balmy summer air pushed in and out. I could hear maybe a neighbor nearby mowing grass. There might be shouts too as the kids on the block played outside. I could make out the clicked shutting of cabinet doors and clanking of dishes from the kitchen. Kathy, our sitter, was probably cleaning up from lunch, or preparing  a snack for after nap time.

I knew, that the world around me was carrying on, even as I was supposed to be resting and asleep to it all. I had an awareness that people were working or playing or up to something, and I was to be trying to nap.

Sometimes I can still feel that innocence of youth, almost a bewilderment to the workings of the world around me. I can seem to be in my place, doing my part, yet so blind and clueless to the bigger picture.

In the case of my babysitter, or of parenting to my own little Joella, I know that the sounds and senses she notices within the house are for her own good. She can rest easy, because her Dad is close by. I might be packing her bag for the day, or warming a bottle for when she awakes. I can’t say though, if she actually feels safe and secure. She seems to be content most of the time, but flashes of fear and anxiety show up too.

This brings to mind the Einstein quote

““The most important decision we make is whether we believe we live in a friendly or hostile universe.”

I don’t think that I have really been given reason to believe that I have been treated with hostility by the world around me. I wasn’t attacked as an infant or abused. I certainly didn’t like everything that happened in my life as a young person, like losing my Dad in an accident. However, that was not an event that stopped or cancelled my opportunity for making successful progress in my life.

Actually, when examined as a whole, I am sure that I have been quite blessed. I could embrace the idea that I live in a friendly universe, but I do find that difficult a lot of the time.

Whether discussing personal life challenges, or issues within our local community, or especially the nation and its political climate, I can find reasons to see great hostility. Going back to the quiet bedroom at naptime, I sometimes look at the small space around me. I notice every detail and almost quiver with frustrated anxiety about trying to relax. Indications come by sound, smell and sixth sense that activities are afoot, out of my vision. I can wonder about conspiracy or secret societies or the men in black.

These tensions grind on the mind. It is almost religious faith in reverse. The Enemy may be winning the war between our ears when we can be so sure that evil is plotting our demise, without even really showing its face.

So then, maybe a moment still can come, laying on the tightly tucked comforter of the babysitter’s bed. Maybe sleep does wash over and the scary noises of the world fade into fuzzy dreams. Maybe the things beyond my control will stay out there, and not slide into the room, under the door, while I sleep. A strong faith in God, creator of this universe, can help that slumber.

I am not promoting infantile naivety, just an understanding that we cannot control it all. It’s not our job to do that. We can construct and maintain the slice of the life, that we are blessed with, whatever its size. We can work on that, and then enjoy a rest from that work too.

The spiritual battles rage on, while we sleep, most likely unseen always right in the periphery of our limited human vision. I want to remind myself that Lord Almighty has not forsaken us. We are still children of a God who truly loves us. God’s love is real, in that it doesn’t feed us candy, just because we want it. He may not give us false hope that all will be peachy and wonderful, without some work on our part. “God is in the character building business”, I’ve heard it said.

We may need to feel some fear and tension too, in order to decide that we will do, what we can do, to bring the light. The darkness cannot survive that. In that truth, we can rest assured.


Aaron Nichols

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