* * *

            I am alone. I cannot see anyone or anything near me. The landscape around me is shrouded in a deep fog, an impenetrable darkness that my eyes cannot pierce. It envelops me on every side. This gloom is all I have ever known. In its borders, I feel safe. In its frame, I feel I belong.

            Yet, as the days go by, I develop a sense of unease. I grow wary as the weeks run swiftly past. I sense that these walls I was content in are drawing nearer to me. The darkness grows deeper, and I know that my distance from these walls has begun to diminish, for I can feel them closing in around me, though I still cannot quite see them. Time, such an unforgiving thing, has started to instill dread as the darkness grows ever deeper, ever nearer. I lash out, striking with my hands, with my feet, trying to send these shadowy hedges back to where they were before. Kicking these walls, I am desperate, as my body becomes caught between them, rapidly becoming restricted in my movement.

            Is this my fate? Are these barriers going to shrink until I am crushed in this oblivion? All I long for is to return to how it was, in the comfort of my apathetic being. But now, this silence has ensnared me. It crept in on me while I was unaware. How could one fight what they cannot see? I do not know. I never knew. I am all alone.

            These walls have gone from snug to tight, and from tight to strangling. I cannot move without a struggle. Desperation builds inside of me, as the empty walls fight to squeeze me into a darker grave. I cannot get out. There is nowhere for me to go. I cannot hide. I cannot run. Why do I even bother fighting for a glimpse of hope? What is there to fight for?

            Then I hear it. It is like it had always been there, yet I had somehow failed to notice. It was faint at first, but as I still myself to listen and still my heartbeat, I can hear and seek the source of the warm, rhythmic noise that echoes from beyond the curtain of darkness. It soothes my aching mind. I originally would have feared the sound, yet now, anything at all is welcome. Its drumming pulse seemed to speak to me. Through the darkness it called out, seeming to say, “Don’t fear. I’m near,” over and over again.

            Tears welled up in my eyes, the walls ever tighter around my body. The pulse spoke louder with each passing minute, and I wished to escape to its source. I desperately yearned to call out to it, crying “Save me from this darkness! I am trapped in this painful prison!” However, I could not. I would try, but no sound would issue forth. This comforting darkness had become a prison. The safety of these walls seems to have inevitably become my demise. As my hope is all but shattered, I silently cried once more. “I need to be free! I cannot escape on my own! I need help!”

            As if in response to my cry, the cadence of the pulses increased, climbing rapidly. No longer did they say, “Don’t fear. I’m near,” but instead, with ever-increasing intensity, they declared, “Come! Come! Come!”

            “How? Where?” I cried, the pain in my body increasing unbearably. “Show me, please!”

            “Come! Come! Come!” rang the reply. “Leave your darkness and come!”

            The walls of my prison began to violently convulse, sending pain through me like I had never known. I had to get out!

            “Come! Come! Come! Leave your darkness and come!”

            A frantic drive overcame me, and I began to fight. I thrashed at the walls with all my might. I lashed out with my hands and feet, straining against the tremors with every ounce of my meager strength.

            “Come! Come! Come! Leave your darkness and come!”

            The spasms in the walls grew ever faster, ever harder. Yet over it all, the pulse called with power, filling me with strength that was not mine.

           “COME! COME! COME! LEAVE YOUR DARKNESS AND COME!”

            “Show me where!” I inaudibly screamed.

            Right on cue, a thin beam of light penetrated my darkness. Its sensation was frighteningly new, for its illumination both hurt and healed my flesh and mind. Part of me longed to remain in the darkness that I had always known; but another element of my being instantly desired to escape my pain and know this light.

            “COME! COME! COME! LEAVE YOUR DARKNESS AND COME!”

            A battle raged within me, and the war outside of me was effortlessly overcoming my pitiful struggle. Who knew what lay beyond these walls? I surely did not. The terrible thought flashed through my mind of eternally living in that searing pain the light had afflicted me with, even with that tiny beam.

            “COME! COME! COME! LEAVE YOUR DARKNESS AND COME!”

            Agony seared through me as I threw doubt away into the darkness. With renewed vigor, I thrashed, shoved, and heaved against my entangling cage. Inch by inch I crawled towards the light. To stop surely meant death to me. The walls grew narrower faster now as I fought for the light. They squeezed so hard at times, I feared that I would not make it, but the strength from the shouting voice would not be denied.

            “COME! COME! COME! LEAVE YOUR DARKNESS AND COME! MY STRENGTH IS YOURS. NOW COME!”

            My muscles burned from the strain, but I would not let them stop. The light at the end of the tunnel was so close! Its beam grew ever brighter as I approached. I had to reach it! By my life or death, reaching that light was my destiny.

            “COME! COME! COME! ENTER MY LIGHT AND LIVE. COME!”

            After what seemed an eternity, I reached the dividing point. Before me was the intense, burning light, and behind lay the darkness I once craved. My mind was torn. It seemed as if there were two persons inside of me warring for control as I lay at the dividing line. One move in either direction would push me past the point of no return. The unknown was before me, and I was afraid. Likewise, behind me were the dark walls I once knew, and I ached to return to that safe, quite place of ignorance, but I knew now that I could not. The darkness groped at me, trying to reclaim its captive, but it had lost.

            “COME! DIE TO YOUR DARKNESS AND LIVE IN MY LIGHT! COME!”

            With one final push, I allowed the light to overcome me. The shock was severe, but all at once I felt a wave of relief wash over my body as I was freed from the crushing walls of my dark chasm. I fell limp as cold air washed over my new life. The pulsing voice was no longer shouting to me over the maelstrom of crushing walls; rather, it came upon me as a whisper, giving me a gentle caress of peace.

            “Welcome home child,” it murmured affectionately. “The darkness has gone, and my light has come. I will never forsake you. You have come home.”

            I opened my mouth and cried. A rush of air filled my lungs, and with each breath, I felt more alive. My cries no longer went unheard, for even I could tell that they sprang forth, flying upward to the comforting voice I had decided to follow.

            My tears sprang forth as a fountain, unbidden, yet ever so welcome. The bitter night was spent. It was as if my life before was dead. The darkness was gone, never to take hold of me again. I had been made new!

            I felt love envelope me like a blanket, clothing my pale skin in warmth. How could I have ever taken comfort in that darkness? It was literally a crude shadow to what I now felt. Never again would I miss that prison. This was what life should be like!

            The voice once again called to me, love dripping from it like the sweetest honey. “My child, you have so much more ahead of you. I will bring you new wonders every day! Stay with me, my love, and I will guide you to joys immeasurable.”

            I quivered with anticipation. “I don’t want anything else. I love your light!”

            Happiness inundated my body as I felt a laugh radiate from my savior. “Ah, my child! I love you more than you can comprehend. You must open your eyes! Open them and see the wonders I have placed around you! Your eyes are closed, though you do not realize it. While my light can even pierce your closed eyes, you must open them now and truly see!”

            Slowly, the lids on my eyes crept open. I gasped in wonder as I learned to see for the first time. Everywhere I turned my gaze, there was a new sight, a new marvel. Each new thing was stunning, and I sat there speechless. 

            “All of this is for you, child,” the voice said, “so that you may know me more. I know you intimately. I want you to know me likewise. Now go, and live! Thrive in the world I have crafted for you. If you continually seek me, you will always find me, no matter where you are.”

            Overwhelmed, I whispered to him. “I love you!”

            With my new sight I could see him smile back. “I love you more!”

Birth

By Jeremy Blatchford

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