“Bye, now,” I called out as I 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. They’d passed their exams and were getting ready to face the world.
I took a deep breath and slipped out the door. This darkness would test my cane skills. In the meager light, I oriented myself with the street straight ahead. How hard can this be, anyway? Turn to the left. Go four blocks. There’s a big library there. Cross the street. Go five blocks. You should be on your own street. Cross it and find the sidewalk. To your right is the side street beside your house. Cross that and you’re 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. With that, I stepped into the dark.
Keep positive. I’m getting there. I’m doing it. Keep on going.
I visualized the environment–so familiar in the 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 shouldn’t be on the right-hand side. It should be on the left. The growling disoriented me. How close was it to me? Fear clutched at me. Where am I going? Did I make the right turns? Could this be a wrong neighborhood?
I felt so vulnerable…
Maybe you can’t relate to a woman losing her vision as she attempts to make her way home for the first time in the dark–by herself. But I’m sure you can relate to the feeling of taking a step in an unknown direction and not knowing where it will lead. Fearing differences from what you imagined.
Steps in the dark.
Leaving one job. Taking on another. Learning a new sport. Starting a brand new relationship.
All frightening steps in the dark.
I’ve noticed a pattern with me. When making a life-changing decision, I don’t say too much. I’m full of bravado and take that step on my own, pretending I’m completely confident. All the time, my heart is racing and I’m mentally going through the directions stored up to ensure I’m going in the right direction.
It took six months before I let on—even to my family—that I was divorced.
After years of denial, I finally owned up to losing my vision and only then did I receive mobility training.
Most recently, it took almost a year before I admitted that I left my teaching career.
Can you relate at all?
I don’t know if it’s fear of past or future failure that causes me to keep silent.
Maybe it’s pride.
It’s not that I don’t talk about the changes. It’s more that I don’t talk about what I’ve given up.
Until, that is, it’s clear I should be in the classroom and I’m at home on the computer, writing. And someone asks me what happened to my students. Why didn’t I ever mention them anymore?
Regardless of how you or I transition into a new field of interest, job or relationship, I think there are lots of days it’s scary to take that next step in the dark.
Today is one such day for me.
Just like my vision fluctuates and an unexpected obstacle pops up in my path, so does my confidence in my being a freelance writer. Not having a steady paycheck is scary. My pay depends on my own ingenuity and hard work. It takes months to get paid for one article.
Are you, like me, living off past savings? Waiting for future successes?
God says, don’t worry about the next step. He’s going to provide the tools and guidance needed to move ahead boldly.
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. Tonight a scripture comes to me and steers me in the right direction. “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future” – Jeremiah 29:11.
Suddenly that scripture serves as 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 if you’re holding onto a relationship or a job or anything at all simply because you’re afraid to take that step in the dark.
Maybe you’re like me and have taken it but hold out on making it public because of some unknown fear.
Maybe you’ve gotten so far onto the new path but new doubts arise and shake you.
God is faithful.