That Night

I have been through a small piece of hell, unlike anything I have experienced before.

A hell that I will remember.

Helplessness.  Utter helplessness.  To make all the right motions and see none of the results.  To travel the same steps back, and forth, and back, and forth, searching for something you know must be there.  And to discover, at the end of it all, that the reason you couldn’t find it is because you were searching in the wrong place, because you were in the wrong place.

The darkness.  In the light, all might have been made plain, made easier, or at least not hard.  But in the darkness, in the rain, in Hell’s domain, everything is warped and twisted until you can’t see straight, until you can’t see anything.  And the fear.  The fear that you might never find it, that you have to find it, and that you can’t find it.  That it must be so close, and still out of reach.

Helplessness.  A crushing sense of helplessness, that you are lost.  Lost, a stranger in a strange land.  Your tools fail you one by one, the tools you so foolishly relied upon to bring you home.  And there is no one to aid you.  No one to fix your tools.  You are alone.  Alone, on a dark road, driving to Hell but never reaching it, because you are lost.

God answers prayers.  God answered my prayer that night.  He sent me an angel to guide me:  an old man on the street.  And the angel guided me not simply because I prayed for it, but because I asked that old man.  Because I went out of my way to try and fix the problem, rather than assuming the problem would fix itself.  And he told me, “Turn around, go back a ways.  You’re in the wrong place.”

And the landmark, the landmark in the sky that was to be my saving glory.  “If I can just reach that, if I can just reach that landmark, I can retrace my steps, and discover what I did wrong.”  The angel guided me, and behold, I saw the sign in the sky, and I was able to find my way home.  Without the guide, without the sign, I would have been lost.

The things in life that you worry about pale in comparison to true fright.  “What will I eat?”  “Where will I meet my friends?”  “How should I entertain myself?”  “Where will I play my game?”  True fright, this gives you perspective.  It lets you know how silly you were to worry about such things.  And suddenly, you seem to worry about them less.  “If I survived Hell, I can survive this.”

 

Lord please grant me the strength sufficient for today.  Not for tomorrow.  For today.  Let me get through today, and I will thank you.  Let me rest my weary head, and I will thank you.  Tomorrow will come as it may.  Today comes now, and is here, and I cannot avoid anything about it.  I must face it.  And I cannot face it alone.

I need you, Lord.

Thank you for knowing that I need you.

And thank you for being there when I needed you the most.

Amen.

 

{One night in Boston, I became hopelessly lost while driving back to my hotel, for over an hour and a half.  This is some of what I can remember about that night.}

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