Dancing in the Dark

The Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater’s Demetia Hopkins Credit: Paul Kolnik

If you live, work or ever visited New York City chances are you have been through the Lincoln tunnel.  The Lincoln tunnel is one-and-a-half miles long. It connects New Jersey to Midtown Manhattan. There is a point in that tunnel where you are too far away from the east end to see New York and too far away from the west end to see New Jersey.  So, there are lights in the tunnel. Otherwise, the ride from the city would inevitably be pitch black under the Hudson river. When you reach the halfway point, if you look back you cannot see the light of the opening and looking forward there is no end in sight.  At some point on your journey, there is no light on either end of your tunnel. At that point you have two choices:

Turn back to where you came from or dance in the dark until you see the light again.

“Darkness” has always been metaphorical for the unknown, unwieldy or some negative influence. As children (and sometimes as adults) we are afraid of the dark. The dark signals those who are up to no good. Robbers and thieves break into dark houses.  Predators and criminals walk the streets at night in the darkness. If you want to hide, you hide in dark places.  Darkness means trouble. That is why most of us had to be home when the street lights came on in the evening.

After all, Matthew 8:12 says, Then Jesus spoke to them again, saying, “I am the light of the world. He who follows Me shall not walk in darkness, but have the light of life.”   So I began to wonder… if Jesus says we who follow Him will not walk in darkness, why the heck is my tunnel so dark?  The light of Jesus is on the inside of me so why can’t I see where I am going?

Then it hit me!  “He who dwells in the secret place of the Most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty.” (Psalms 91:1)  My tunnel is not in “darkness” it is in the shadow of God’s caress. A shadow is cast inside of light. Without light there can be no shadow. The light on the inside of me is not to light my way. God will guide me in His shadow. (Psalms 119:105) The light on the inside of me is so I can dance. Dance under the safety of God’s all knowing and almighty power. Dance with the understanding that all my needs are already met. Dance because his grace is sufficient.
They say that there is always a light at the end of the tunnel.  This is true but we cannot always see that light. In the moments of life when there is no visible light in your tunnel you need to understand that you are not in “darkness” but you are hidden in the shadows of God’s destiny for you. His shadow is cast inside of your light.  Dance! Dance! Dance! So dance in the dark and love yourself first!

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