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i can walk in darkness watercolor painting by david hayward

“i can walk in darkness” (watercolor on paper, 17″x21″)

I once heard a sermon years ago by a famous baptist preacher. He talked about him and one of his church members going into a darkened restaurant for lunch in the middle of a sunny day. The waitress led them to their table and they sat down in the dim, cool booth. The preacher said his congregant began to share how things weren’t as black and white as they used to be, and that he wasn’t sure where the line was anymore. The preacher was glad to inform us that he corrected this man by explaining it this way: When we first came into this restaurant out of the bright sunlight we couldn’t see a thing. But after a few minutes our eyes began to adjust and now we don’t even notice we’re sitting in relative darkness. He informed us that his congregant went back to being a good, well-behaved Christian.

At the time I heard this I was impressed with the analogy. Now, not so much. Now I consider it a skill, an art, to be able to maneuver in darkness. I wasn’t taught how to walk in the midnight hours. I wasn’t taught how to negotiate the valleys or navigate the nights. I had to learn from experience. Since then, though, I have found pioneers who have gone before and left breadcrumbs to help guide me.

The painting is available.