I ruminate. It’s how my mind works. Don’t get me wrong, I know that it’s unhealthy to chew on a problem over and over again during all hours of the night, while desperately praying for sleep. However, as of yet, any other alternative has escaped me.
One stressful night, I laid in bed and felt as though my heart was pumping pure adrenaline. 2 hours of unsuccessful sleep seemed like an adequate enough attempt to me, so I decided to take a walk down my country road to pray and calm my mind.
The whole village of Gibsonburg seemed asleep as I stepped out onto my back porch. It was a particularly dark night and I felt the cool night air blow gently across my face and arms. I walked down my gravel driveway and stepped onto the blacktop of my county road and noted how quiet my footsteps were- nearly silent. Making my way down the road, I only took a dozen steps or so when I heard rustling from the trees directly next to me.
I stopped to listen. “It” seemingly stopped as well. After a few moments, I walked directly toward the sound and silently slipped right up to the tree line running down the side of the road. Then I waited. I could barely make out the trees, and the darkness acted like a thick, black blanket, beyond which I could see nothing. If I stretched out my hand, it would have disappeared immediately into the void.
I controlled my breath and stood as dreadfully still as I could. The silence that surrounded me broke with the deep breathing of something far larger than a raccoon. I could hear the rasp of the air traveling down its windpipe. My eyes scanned the darkness directly in front of me. I expected its eyes were doing the same. I felt as though I could reach out and touch it.
Before too long I heard the movement of shrubs. “It” tuned into “they” and “they” were ever-so-close. In that moment I felt a mixture of excitement, fear and adventure come over me. My flight or fight response rose up, and I chose to stand still. I wanted to know. I wanted to experience whatever that was… as closely as possible. I imagined what it would be like if a large buck walked right out onto the street right next to me. How majestic would that be? How awe inspiring and wonderful?
I realized that the very thing which drove me to the street that night, was being experienced in that moment. My mind sought to capture every possible option, every variable and every control to manage well this ever-present problem robbing me of rest that night. I had worked it over long enough. It was as if I had come up to a dark threshold that separated me from knowing what was coming- from knowing the outcome of my decisions. At this point, it didn’t matter how much longer I ruminated. The darkness would still be there. The only choice I had left was to continue trying to control outcomes, to my own detriment, or to stand in faith and trust.
May we be the kind of people who think things through, attempt to see things from all angles, consider all of the options and make wise judgments to guide each step of our lives. However, when we reach the end our understanding and find ourselves on the brink of darkness, may we also be the kind of people who take steps in faith, through the void, expecting to experience the wonder and surprise of all the Lord has in store.