A Light Unto My Path

A single streetlamp, all aglow, lights a patch of country road running through the woods.  It is a predominantly black and white scene, and the streetlamp casts the only light surrounded by a very dark night — only a pale reflection of the light shines on the street below as well as on the few single leaves remaining on the otherwise bare tree next to the streetlamp.  Winter fast approaches and darkness abounds.  

Visiting the monastery that weekend was one of the first outings I’d made after finding myself alone, my husband’s words still ringing in my ears – that he no longer wanted to be married.  But I’d never arrived at nighttime – never realized just how dark it could get in this most secluded place.  I parked, got out of the car, and wondered how in the world, I would make it downhill to the building – quite a distance away yet and nowhere visible.  I searched for my flashlight, which was always in the glove compartment, except of course, on this night, and having no other choice; I stepped forward into utter darkness.  

At least, there was a paved road beneath my feet, which made me feel somewhat secure, but alas, no light.  No light anywhere.  How in the world could they not have a single streetlamp anywhere along this road, I bemoaned.  I took a step into the void, then another, then one more, the woods deepening on my left, stark emptiness on my right, the paved path under my feet.  Yet again another step, then once more, each unsure step moving me deeper into the night.  Then – all of a sudden, in an instant – a light popped on!  A motion sensor light.  Not being a fan of motion sensor lights (especially in bathrooms!) I found myself grateful, relieved, and humbled by the light that went on inside me at that moment:  motion sensor lights require motion; I knew that but didn’t know it.  

Stepping into the darkness first is what triggers the light to illuminate—stepping into the darkness first.  That night I realized the path was lined with lights all along the way but placed far enough apart that I had no choice but to journey in darkness for several steps before the next light would turn on.  Then, illuminate it would, without fail, if only long enough for me to get reoriented, then extinguish.  

I had to travel in darkness much of the way that night, but the lights appeared before me just when I needed them most.  And though my journey requires me to step out into darkness time and time again, as we are sometimes called to do, when I do step forward, a light is suddenly there to remind me that I am safe, headed in the right direction, and most importantly, not alone. 

This Advent season lets us have the courage to step out into the darkness, trusting that God’s light will meet us there and illuminate our path forward once we do.

A Light Unto My Path

Shared by Karla Hendrick

4 responses to “A Light Unto My Path”

  1. As a divorced woman, I thought my life was over in 1990. Actually, it has been an unimaginable gift. Like everyone else, full of joy and sadness, and glorious beyond knowing.

  2. Beautiful analogy. I walked a similar path (divorce) fourteen years ago. I have rebuilt and have a good life. I hope you do, too. The key (for me) is to look and go forward with the light (faith) as a guide and make the best of each day. Thanks for your post.

  3. Karla, thank you for sharing your story. I hope that I can remember when facing dark moments that “motion sensor lights require motion,” and am able to move forward knowing that the advent baby Christ is always present and that friends are always there to walk with me. Blessings on this advent season.

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