It was dark, and had been for quite some time. One small family had huddled into one small circle of white light. Around them were sound of horror and despair, death and starvation, anger and violence. The tension of fear was palpable. To move would risk the light going out. In the light they were safe. At least they could avoid what they could not see and feared.
“Daddy?” a girl eventually said to her father, “Daddy I’m hungry.”
“I love you, don’t worry I’ll find some food.”
What’s the point of avoiding these sounds of starvation in the dark when it even attacks us here in the light? Thought the Dad. Oh Heaven help us. Wilt though please help me dear Lord?
At that request a voice was heard. “Take ten steps forward.”
The father heard the voice and he definitely recognized it, but stepping forward meant leaving his family and going into the darkness. He was hoping for help, but deeper down he was hoping for some more helpful help, not to leave his family alone and be lead toward sounds of despair and agony in the darkness. He hesitated.
“Take ten steps forward.” The voice commanded again.
He turned to his wife who was caring for the children, she did not seem to have heard the voice, but there was no mistake, he had heard it.
What to do?
Crying, one of his children was crying.
He turned to his wife and with a lovely look said to her “I’ll be back.” She seemed terrified at what he just said. “I promise I’ll be back.” He said with more love this time. She knew the situation was dire and something had to be done. She grabbed his hand.
He took a breath and then a step into the dark.
The light did not move, his whole body was in the darkness except his hand still holding his wife’s hand in the light.
He let go and took a couple more steps, slowly.
“Where’s Daddy going?” one of the children asked.
His heart raced as the sound of despair grew louder.
“Eight…” through gritted teeth he whispered “Nine… Ten.”
There he stood in the Darkness. The sounds of despair were tearing about inside him. He wanted so badly to turn, to run back to his family.
I have done as though hast commanded, he prayed.
Light, suddenly a new conduit of light appeared around him. He breathed more fully.
Gratitude was expressed. “I thank Thee, I thank Thee.” He said.
“Walk forward” the heavenly voice said again.
The Dad could not mistake it. With the sounds of despair louder than before he was more hesitant. “Could you move the light first?” he asked Above.
“Walk forward” the voice came again.
The Dad could not mistake it.
Hesitant he looked around and saw someone. Another man in yellow light. He noticed a curious difference. The man was sweating. He stood in one place breathing heavily and then the light would disappear. He stood in fear when the light disappeared, and as soon as he saw the yellow light again, a couple yards away he would dash to its safety. There he panted for breath, froze as the light vanished and then sprinted again to catch the light never catching his breath as long as he wanted to stay in the light. The light would lead him in all sorts of directions.
Why is the light asking me to move forward? He wondered. The man in the yellow light was such a curious difference.
He remembered the voice’s instruction, “Walk Forward.”
He stepped … once, twice, the light was left behind him as he walked away from it. Then the light followed him. After walking forward for so long he saw in the distance to the left something that was dimly lit. He began to walk toward it.
He stood in the light. The light slowly crept forward and revealed the edge of a chasm gaping before him.
“I thank thee,” he said quietly.
There he stood uncertain what to do. As far as he knew the chasm was before him, but he was unsure where else it extended. He knew only that backward was safe, all other directions were frightening.
“I cannot see.” He said to Above.
But heard nothing.
This is not going to stop me, no chasm is going to get in the way of me helping my family. He got on his hands and knees and crawled forward a bit and felt the edge of the chasm. Crawling along to the left he left the light and crawled along the edge in the darkness feeling his way along. Keeping his eye on the dimly light landscape ahead he noticed the chasm was began to curve away from that landscape ahead. Once the chasm was curved away enough he stood up in the dark and carefully walked toward the lit landscape. After a few paces the conduit of light appeared above him and again began to follow him as it had before.
He walked for some time, and as he walked he thought how reassuring it was that the light was following him. He became curious. He turned and walked perpendicular to the landscape ahead. He noticed the conduit picked up speed, suddenly it was yellow and ahead of him. It’s speed increased and he ran to catch up, he was running short of breath. The light was some distance away from him.
The light altogether disappeared and he was left in the darkness.
He turned around looking for some source of light but it was darker than night, even the golden landscape in the distance has disappeared. He was blind.
It became cold, and he was frozen with fear.
Fear flooded his mind as he fell on the ground.
Where is he thought the Mom.
There had been some time since the Dad had left.
The small family had been waiting patiently, mostly.
“I’m tired of waiting,” said the oldest son.
“Well then go to sleep, that’s what they’ve done,” said the Mom motioning to the children asleep on and around her lap.
There had been hand games played and much whining abated by the Mom, who loved to enjoy time with her family despite any hardship.
“He’s not coming back.”
“He didn’t even say where he was going he just said ‘I’ll be back’ and ran off.”
“Joshua, I need you to stay here.”
“I’m not staying.” And he was gone.
On the ground and afraid the Dad feared what had knocked him to the ground.
“Sorry, I didn’t see you there.”
“Who are you?” asked the Dad relieved that it wasn’t angry with teeth that ran into him.
“Oh are you lost as well?”
“Well, follow me,” as he heard footsteps walking away.
“Where are you?” the Dad asked as he began walking.
The Dad’s head turned and he changed his direction a little to the left. “I can’t see you.”
“Just keep following me.”
His head turned again this time a little to the right. “Where are we going?” The Dad asked realizing he needed to keep talking.
“This way of course.”
“Which way is this way?”
“Forward of course.”
This is nonsense thought the Dad. “Can you see?”
Of course he can’t thought the Dad, he ran straight into me. “Do you have any idea where you are going?”
“Well, there’s no sense in following you, you have no idea where you are going,” said the Dad still following.
“Are you just going to stand there then, you might as well follow me.”
“You could walk into a pit or something.”
“There are no pits around here.”
The Dad stopped. “But there is. Stop.” He heard the footsteps still stepping. “Stop.” He yelled. But the man kept walking.
And then there was no sound at all.
Joshua wasn’t scared. He knew what the dark was. He used to walk around with his eyes closed just for fun.
Where am I going, he thought. Doesn’t matter, at least I’m going somewhere.
He kept walking.
And then he tripped. Fell right over. He turned around and saw a faint red glow where he had tripped. At first uncertain, then confident he brushed the dark dirt away from the glow and it grew brighter. A red glowing stone. He picked it up and tossed it around.
Huh, he thought.
This is kind of good, he thought.
He looked around, no one around.
Suddenly he had more power, he could see.
He ran forward. Then stopped. Hey I can run around and carry this light. I don’t have to stand in some stupid circle and wait.
He had fun running about and tossing his light about.
He tossed it high in the air and watched it fly up and then back…
Poom. He was tackled to the ground. The red stone struck the ground next to him. With the stone nearby he could barely make out a bearded face that was now scrambling for the stone. He scrambled too, and it became a wrestle. The man was thin, and Joshua was able to pull him back, and roll over him toward the stone. His hair was being pulled, and a hand was being reached over his back. He kicked hard and felt the grip on his hair let go. He grabbed the stone and stood on his feet. He could see a little around him and heard nothing.
“Give it up,” said the bearded man.
Joshua held the stone up for more light and his other hand ready to punch.
“I can see you, and you have no idea where I am,” the bearded man said from behind Joshua. He couldn’t hear steps his breathing was so loud.
It was true, as long as he had the power, he could be seen and envied, all those lost in the dark would fight for power. Even those in the light would take his power.
Joshua held his breath. He turned and punched the bearded man as he snuck up behind Joshua.
He ran long and hard, clenching the red stone.
What have I done, The Dad thought. The light is gone and I am … lost.
He became angry with himself.
Stupid man, why did you have to leave the light, he thought as he hit the ground with his fist. As he struck the ground light came up from where he struck.
He saw the light for a moment and then it disappeared.
Looking up he saw it ahead beaming up from the ground bigger and brighter. He ran toward it. And as he entered the light it disappeared once again.
He saw it ahead to the left, and ran to be within the safety of the light.
He reached the light and was out of breath. The light moved again and he struggled to move onto the next one.
No voice. No assurance, just panic. He needed light even if it ran away from him. It was better than darkness, better than fear. Panic seems to be better than fear.
Then it dawned on him as he stood panting in the dark, hands on knees, looking ahead at the beam of light.
It was yellow.
How foolish, he thought.
Through tears he fell to his knees. “Lord, I am lost, afraid, alone, help. Forgive me I have strayed, I left the path and lost my way, dear Lord help me. I cannot do it alone, I need thee.” Was his plea. He knelt sobbing on the ground.
Crying, wrestling, pleading.
He knew on his own he was quite helpless, powerless. He knew that without the light he stood in little chance on saving his family. He was light-less.
Then slowly from above, white light descended gradually and grew brighter still.
What gratitude swelled his heart.
His pleas turned to thanks.
He was still crying, but now his tears sang a different song, a much more peaceful sound and joyful color.
Thanking the Lord as he stood, and wiping the tears as he smiled he took a breath
“Look,” said the voice.
And he say ahead on the horizon a golden-lit landscape.
He knew his duty.
He ran! He started running.
With hope girded about his heart he was on his way to victory.
The Horizon grew closer as his heart swelled with joy.
The Mom and children are dying. Hand games and stories no longer worked, her children were starving.