Image courtesy of COBRAsoft, rgbstock.com.

“I’m afraid of the dark”

whispered a tender voice beside my groggy head.

I followed the voice’s owner down the hall

into the room dimly illumined by his nightlight

and under his comic book-themed bedsheets.

I snuggled him as he vibrated with anxious energy. 

It was all I could do as he struggled with his fears.

The nights are longest this time of year in the northern hemisphere.

Behind my office desk I watch the sun set before I finish my work.

It is disorienting to my body to have so little natural light.

Dinnertime feels like bedtime.

It is wearying to my spirit to have so little quality time with the sun.

Vitamin D doesn’t just strengthen my bones but also my will.

And yet, in a few days the earth’s axial tilt will begin to shift.

The days will grow longer.

The shadows will grow shorter.

Such are the mysteries of creation and the laws of physics.

Until then – and really, beyond –

I will whisper my fears of the unknown to the One

who will follow me into my isolating anxiety

and hold me close as I wrestle with what I can’t see.

Thanks be to God.


Laura Stephens-Reed is a clergy and congregational coach working with ministers and churches across the ecumenical spectrum. Having served in a variety of pastoral roles and denominations, she is primarily affiliated with the Alliance of Baptists and the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship and has ministerial standing in the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ). Based in northwest Alabama (United States), Laura is married to a United Methodist pastor, and they have a seven-year-old son. She blogs weekly at laurastephensreed.com.


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