But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from sin.
1 John 1:7
For my whole life, I shared a room with my three sisters. Unless we were mad at each other, settling down for the night was usually a long giggle-whispery affair. These long runways to sleep were often made longer by my dad’s love of terribly acted B level scary movies.
One, or all four of us on any given night, were scared of the dark.
With no closet built into our room, that meant no light with which to keep the monsters at bay. The weight and feel of the sheets pulled tight to our necks felt like nothing at all compared to the physical heft of fear bedding down all around us. The dark is a physical thing that holds a heaviness. It blocks vision, settles on the chest, makes breathing harder.
‘I’m scared,’ the smallest would beg with her littlest voice.
We all are, I wanted to tell her. But she needed our help to see.
I knew calling out the truth was the only way to cut through the dark and I would point out the lies and inconsistencies of our fears in what we knew to be reality or even make fun of silly costumes and bad scripts.
Even if my voice was sometimes shaky doing it.
My dad used to say, ‘Nobody knows the law like a criminal.’ And this logic of expertise shifts to, well, everything: No one understands the shadows like someone who’s lived in the dark.
And beginning in the years of sharing a room with my sisters and to this current day, I have been intimately acquainted with the shadows. Some of those times I didn’t even know I was in the dark. Other times I’d jumped head first into one black abyss or another. And on more than one occasion, I’ve tiptoed along that fine edge between shadow and light and gotten swallowed up by my own carelessness.
A familiar working knowledge of the darkness can also give one a king’s view and love of the light, though, won’t it?
D.T. Niles said, ‘Christianity is just one beggar telling another beggar where he found the bread.’ As one who knows the breath-stealing dark, I am compelled by love of Jesus Christ to show fellow beggars where the light is the same way I’ve been mercifully shown. It’s funny to me how things can be completely different but never really have changed.
My childhood fears were spent calling out the truth in the night alongside my very first community.
And now I am full grown and see still: this is our only way.
In my own cheese-falling-off-the cracker constant beautiful mess, I have learned, am ever learning, there are only two seeds planted even in shaky-faith that usher in a light-blinding healing: confession and community.
I bear witness to this miracle in the receiving of others’ and giving of my own confessions in the body of Christ today. It may be as close to any formula as we may come for walking in the light. And for the Seer and Knower of every feather on all birds, there is no coincidence.
From the beginning, God agreed unto Himself, ‘Let there be light.’
To confess is to agree about a matter and to call a thing as it exists out of the darkness gives us dominion and truth over it rather than the other way around. The heart of our Father is relationship and the DNA of our healing is found twined around each other.
God made the light.
And God saw that the light was good.
Melissa Blair is a writer and recovering Texan now living in the Ozark Mountains of Northwest Arkansas. Melissa believes there is always treasure buried beneath the dirt of every day and enjoys digging for, dusting off and holding each one up to the light for a better view. She can be found writing the mess out of life at melissablair.net.