There’s something calming about walking at this time of the day. It’s still dark outside. There isn’t much traffic. No ambient noise. The signature songs of different birds present better melodies than an iPod, and it’s typically cooler. A huge factor in Florida.
Did I mention that it’s dark? Really dark?
This typically isn’t a problem, though I must confess I was terrified of the dark as a child. Well, yes, and as an adult. Not fond of the whole lack of light thing. But night is the appropriate time for dark. And it’s a stunning way to see the moon and stars which don’t have to compete with excessive street lights or old Mr. Sun.
Walking during this time of day can feel a bit uncomfortable, so I don’t leave myself completely without options.
I carry a pair of three-pound weights, ostensibly for the development of arm strength.
But if anything comes after me, I can wump it with those puppies.
There is this one section of my walk, however, that has lost some of it’s street lighting of late. It goes by a swampy area, filled with trees and moss and dampness that you can smell.
And this morning it was also filled with sounds. Croaks and grumblings, rumblings and throaty sounds that could come from many things. Things that I wouldn’t want to confront during the day, much less in the dark with no one around.
My little weights have their limits.
I know for a fact that alligators make some of the noises emanating from that swamp. We have them around us, in the pond across the street, and at times in the pond behind us. Typically, they remove them when they become a certain size. (I’m quite sure they drastically underestimate what that size should be.)
What if one of those gators decided to take off after me? In the dark?
I’ve heard if you run in a zig-zag pattern, they can’t catch you. How do you think pattern in a panic? How do you think at all when confronted by a very sharp set of teeth?
Fear is a reality of life. It’s the lack of hope I have when I know I’m not in control. When I fear what might be controlling my choices. When I don’t know what to expect. It’s what I feel when I feel I have no good options.
The disciples felt that way when they were crossing the Sea of Galilee in a boat and saw Someone walking towards them on the water. Not typical. Certainly not expected. Not known. Their response–fear.
“But Jesus immediately said to them: ‘Take courage! It is I. Don’t be afraid.’” Matthew 14:27
Jesus recognized their fear and didn’t dismiss it or minimize it. Because it was real. But He was greater than their fear.
He is greater than what I don’t know or can’t control. I can be courageous because He is with me. Always.
Sink your teeth into that certainty.
Picture courtesy of hiveworkshop.com.