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Friday, April 08, 2005

In the Dark

Horray, I have access to blogger at last!

As you might recall from several weeks ago, my small group of high school girls had been giving me fits (sanctifying heat?). So last Friday was a pleasant surprise when they were actually quite compliant - in sharing and in study. For some reason, the lights went off in our room early on in our meeting, and one of the girls begged to leave them off. I agreed, since I figured that the novelty would be amusing, and I wasn't about to pick a fight over something so minor. So we shared by cell-phone light (ahh, the joys of modern technology, though that still doesn't have the same ring as "candlelight").

You know what was amazing? They all shared! For real! (except for the April fools prayer request) It got me thinking that there's something about the dark -- it's both a scary place and a safe place. I don't think I could count the number of soul-baring talks that I've had with roommates (long-term or short-term) after the lights went out. Silliness we wouldn't own up to by daylight. Fears. Hopes. Affections - for others and for each other. And not only in bedrooms, but with other friends around campfires, late night in car rides, late night phone conversations, in a field under the stars, late-night IM chatting.

So why IS the dark a safe place? The first thing that comes to mind is John 3:19 - "People loved the darkness rather than the light because their deeds were evil." It's the same reason that the dark is a scary place: there everything seems to be hidden. I can bare my soul because I don't see someone laughing at me. Shoot -- in the dark, I can't even see myself, so I'm freer to say ridiculous or very personal things. Perhaps there's an element of feeling freedom from accountability in the dark?

I want to encourage my youth group girls to share with me in the daylight, too. Lights-out isn't necessarily bad, if it gets them talking. But I want them to take babysteps toward the light, to sharing face to face. There's a reason God uses the metaphors of light and darkness so much. And he invites us to live in the light, because he is light. We live coram deo, before the face of God, anyway: it behooves us to recognize that!

Of course, this shouldn't take the joys out of campfire talks, midnight talks, IM conversations, etc. It's just a little reminder that whether we see things or not, nothing is hidden from God!


At 3:12 PM, April 09, 2005, Blogger Mark Traphagen said...

And look what happens as a result of your faithfulness in sticking with these difficult girls!


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