Stepping Out in the Dark
A Familiar Route, Unrecognizable Environment
“Bye, now,” I called out as I waved to my colleagues and unfolded my cane.
I left the bright red punch along with the flat sheet cake covered in red and blue flowers. Congratulations was crawled across it for the graduating class of 2011. The room still held several cheery well-wishers for our nine graduating seniors at the Academy where I taught. They had passed their exams and were prepared to face the world.
I took a deep breath and slipped out the door. This darkness would test my cane skills as I made my way home. In the meager light, I oriented myself by facingthe street directly in front of me.
I mentally went through the directions I would take.
Turn to the left. Go four blocks to the library. Cross the street. Go five blocks. I’ll be on my street. Cross it and find the sidewalk. The side street beside the house will be on the right. Cross that and I’ll be home.
My heart beat erratically as I swept my cane in front of me, keeping myself centered on the sidewalk. This was the first I’d tried to navigate the road by myself at night. No one needed to offer me a ride home. I could do it myself.
With that, I stepped into the dark.
It’s easy to second-guess yourself in the dark, especially when the sky was pitch black.
“Keep positive,” I whispered, trying to buoy my spirit. “Go on, you can do this.”
I visualized the environment as if it were still daylight and listened for traffic cues. My confidence grew. That is, until I came upon the barking dog. I mentally went through the location of each house. If my memory served me right, the dog should be on the left-hand side, not the right. The growling disoriented me. How close was it to me? Did I make the right turns? Did I wander off course?
I felt so vulnerable…
Maybe you can’t relate to a woman losing her vision as she attempts to make her way home by cane for the first time in the dark. But I’m sure you can relate to the feeling of taking a step in an unknown direction and fearing danger.
Steps in the dark.
Leaving one job. Taking on another. Starting a brand new relationship. Saying goodbye to an old one . Or to a loved one. So many changes that appear in our lives…
All frightening steps in the dark.
Regardless of how you or I transition in or out of a new job or relationship, first steps in the dark are scary.
Just like my vision fluctuates and an unexpected obstacle pops up in my path, so does my confidence in braving change. I know what it’s like in my head but I don’t know what the reality is going to be like. Or where I’ll go with it.
God clearly speaks on this topic. He says don’t worry about the next step and promised to guide us.
When I take a wrong step with my cane, my mobility instructor tells me to take a step back and explore my environment with it. He emphasizes the need to reorient myself. God acts in the same way. He’s going to back me up and give me another chance to better orient myself.
We all need to reorient ourselves all too frequently. Even people who travel the road of change all the time stumble in the dark.
I open my Bible to search for the words that will put me on a familiar stretch. I don’t that stretch but I find a now familiar verse in Isaiah 42: 6:
I will make the darkness light before [the blind]. And crooked places straight. These things I will do for them and not forsake them.
I read through the scripture a couple of times. Then I commit the words to memory. “Keep positive,” I whisper to buoy my spirit, “You can do this.” I lean on these words and stand upright; they’ve become my cane.
As I step out in the darkness, I can trust it and move forward, sweeping through my doubts and fears so that I keep to a straight path. Relying on God’s Word should come just as naturally as relying on my cane.
I don’t know what you’re facing today. Maybe you have gotten so far on the path by yourself. You think you know where you and suddenly you hear growling from the wrong direction, and your feel turned around,, trying to find your bearings. You know that you know this road. But in the darkness, you don’t really see in the same way.
God continually guides us through the darkness by His Word.
We all experience vision problems in the dark, you know. And when that happens, God hands us a long, slender red and white cane to make it safely home.
Sweep through your doubts and fears.
God is faithful.
My hope is that this book trailer speaks to you on coping with vision loss. Or simply coping with loss. Or navigating the shadowy terrain of change. Whatever it is that throws us off course. Grab your faith cane and move ahead.
If you know someone struggling, please share this post. My challenge is with losing my vision, especially in reduced lighting. But the roads we walk all meander and often it’s so hard to see in the dark what we know so well in the light. I think the cane God extends to us is versatile. The better we learn to use it, the more confident we feel.