By Pia Thompson
“Hello Darkness, my old friend. I’ve come to speak with you again.”
Simon and Garfunkel
Pia: Today I’ve invited darkness to my blog. You don’t mind if I keep the lights on, do you Darkness?
Darkness: Well, yes, but I’ll put my sunglasses on. The glare, you know.
Pia: It also hides your eyes. You like to keep things hidden, don’t you?
Darkness: I have that effect. But then, most people like me for that reason. I can keep their secrets. I enable them to sin without fear of discovery.
Pia: Yes, I can see how they would think that, if they didn’t know the God who sees all. Light and darkness are the same to Him. We can’t hide.
Darkness: Thankfully, I’ve convinced most people otherwise.
Pia: I suppose you wouldn’t get the dread or respect you do if people saw how easily you could be driven away.
Darkness: Yes, dread and respect. That’s a good way to put it. Most people don’t love me. They appreciate what I give them. A cover, a cloak. Others dread me not for my own sake, but for the sake of the things they imagine I’m concealing; Bogey men or violence.
Pia: Once, when I was young, a boy locked me and his sister in my closet. I remember the feelings I had in the darkness. It was the middle of the day, but it was so dark in there, there weren’t even any shadows and my eyes wouldn’t adjust to it. The darkness seemed to close in on me. I felt the clothes over my head and the toys on the floor. I was crying and begging him to let us out. His sister tried to command him, but he didn’t do it for a long time. I never thought I was claustrophobic, but I started to find it hard to breathe. When he finally opened the door, I felt such relief. I never looked at that closet in the same way. And I’ve always feared getting trapped, since then. Whenever I’d hear about someone being trapped in a walk-in freezer, or a mine, or children hiding in an old appliance and suffocating, I could remember that place and those feelings.
Darkness: It’s funny how that happens. I show up and all kinds of imaginary things join me. I’m not so malignant, you know. Just an absence of light.
Pia: You’re not so innocent, Darkness. You said yourself that you like to provide people with a covering for their evil deeds. Do you not feel any sense of responsibility for your part in it?
Darkness: If you’re asking if I enjoy it any sense, then yes, I do. I feel I bring out a person’s true self. I help lower their inhibitions. People do things in darkness they’d never do in the light.
Pia: Yes, I know that from personal experience, sadly.
Darkness: Care to elaborate?
Pia: Not really. Paul says, “For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Walk as children of light. And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather, expose them. For it is shameful even to speak of those things which are done of them in secret. But all things that are exposed are made manifest by the light, for whatever makes manifest is light.” Ephesians 5:8, 11-13
Darkness: Ahh, my arch-enemy, Light. You had to bring him into this, didn’t you?
Pia: Well, you know that just as you symbolize evil, so light is a symbol for the highest good, God Himself; Jesus Christ. He said He was the Light of the world, and Peter says we’ve been “called out of darkness into His marvellous light.” It’s when I think about Jesus, and His power to create Light by speaking into darkness, it chases away shadows and fears.
Darkness: Funny how even shadows can frighten. They are only hints of the deeper darkness to follow, yet people see in them all manner of things.
Pia: You’re right. My sister and I were often alone most evenings because our Mom worked in a restaurant. Sometimes we’d watch t.v. shows we shouldn’t have, like Night Gallery or Dracula. I’d have a hard time turning out the light. I’d check in my closets and under my bed, and then turn out the light and scan the corners of my attic bedroom with my flashlight. The problem was, as soon as I’d finish one side of the room, I’d have to start over because I feared “something” had moved into the darker corner. Checking under the bed was never reassuring. I thought as soon as I fell asleep, a trap door would open up under my bed, releasing the Bogey Man. I never let my hands or feet dangle over the bed. That was just inviting danger.
Darkness: (laughing) Oh, I love it! I don’t even have to do anything and I set people trembling.
Pia: You’re not always bad, though. Sometimes the darkness can give me a feeling of solitude. In the silence, it’s easier to pray, and easier to talk about difficult issues when no one can see our faces. It’s easier to confess and seek forgivenss.
Darkness: Finally, some positive feedback. You’d think I was personally responsible for every evil in the world.
Pia: No, but you symbolize it, and you are the ultimate end for those who don’t know Christ. Hell is a place described in terms of “outer darkness” and the “blackness of darkness forever”. Darkness also implies being alone and terrified. Hell is a fearful place, but “He has delivered us from the power of darkness, and conveyed us into the kingdom of the Son of His love, in whom we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins. “ Colossians 1:13
Darkness: I am what I am. Take it or leave it.
Pia: Well, you’re here to stay for now. In Heaven, there will be no Night. It’s the opposite of hell. There will be nothing to fear.
Darkness: I guess I’ll still be working then, in that other place.
Pia: Job security will be little comfort then. Let’s talk about threats and memories, and how they come back in the darkness.
Darkness: Some of my favourite topics. What about them?
Pia: I’ve noticed that you can use one fearful event, even one that didn’t take place in darkness, like a physical assault or a threat of violence, and it comes back magnified in the dark.
Darkness: (clapping his hands) Yes! Yes! I love that! I didn’t even instigate the original event. I just provide the setting, create the mood, add a few unexplained sounds around the house, suggest to your mind that maybe you didn’t lock the door, and suddenly those threatening phone calls you’ve been receiving make you jump when the phone rings. Or you have flashbacks about a real event. So much mileage just by one turn of the earth.
Pia: Well, thank you for visiting my blog tonight. Perhaps you should go before the sun comes to chase you and your shadows away.
Darkness: (rising to leave and removing his glasses to reveal coal black eyes) Yes, I’ll go, but remember it’s always night time somewhere in the world.