It was black as tar and just as thick. It surrounded me perpetually, as present as my next breath, never leaving me – never granting me rest from its emptiness.
It had always been there, plaguing me with the unknown and taunting me with all that it shielded from my vision.
A simple fall as an infant, an agonizing bump on the head and all became black.
The darkness was there in my boyhood when the love between those who birthed me lost its spark and died. I was sure that the darkness had extinguished it, puffing out their love as one would a candle.
And it was never blacker than a frigid winter day when my only love was lowered in a cruel box into the frozen ground of a churchyard.
I reached out my hand and cried, but no matter how hard I wished, I could not see her. I would never see her. She had been my joy, my one glimpse of light in the blackness of my life. At times when she spoke to me of the love of a Savior, I almost thought I saw it. A flicker of something arose in the recesses of my soul – a light, a hope, a faith in the unseen.
But the darkness was too strong, too stubborn and consuming to allow any light. I knew I would never be free of its grasp. Not even now that I lay in my familiar bed, age having caught up to me and rendering me more handicapped than ever before. Soon I would drift away to a world of nonexistence, a place where I would no longer worry about the darkness because I would know nothing. I would experience neither darkness nor light. Nothingness would devour me more forcefully than even my black prison had.
I was sure of it.
I heard a sniffle and felt a delicate hand take mine. “Uncle Frederick?” The female voice tried to sound upbeat but it cracked from tears.
“Yes, Rose?” My own voice betrayed me, lacking strength and sounding like a whisper.
“I want to tell you something very important.”
Sweet Rose. She reminded me so much of my Rosemary for whom she was named. Her kind voice and soft skin were practically the same, perhaps because her mother was Rosemary’s closest sister.
“Say it, child.”
“Uncle, you’ve lived your whole life in blindness, and I want you to know … that you have the choice to see.”
My heart melted from the warmth of her compassion, but I knew it couldn’t be. “No, dear girl. I shall never know the joy of sight. It’s impossible.”
“You can! All you have to do is open the eyes of your heart.” She touched my chest. “All this time you’ve had the choice to see. You can choose to now, before it’s too late.”
Choose? But how could I choose to conquer the darkness?
“It is impossible for you to see on your own. But there’s a Light that shines brighter than any in this world. If you want, it can shine in you.”
“I’ve heard of this Light. But I never thought it existed. Why would it cure me now?”
“It’s never too late, Uncle. Just choose to believe. You believe that I exist and you have never seen me. You believed that Aunt Rosemary existed. How hard is it to believe in Someone else Whom you’ve never seen? Someone Who can take away your blindness?”
She had believed in the Light. If she were wrong, what had become of her? Had she ceased to exist as though her life had not mattered? Or was she alive in a higher place?
My heart ached and I began to weep. “I want to see her. I want to see the Light she spoke of!”
“Then pray.” Joy permeated Rose’s voice. “Surrender yourself to Him.”
“Jesus,” I cried through the blackness, “I’ve never seen You, but I believe. After all this time … I want to see.”
Instantly, a brightness that I’d never known flashed all around me. It was a million times more powerful than the darkness. It filled every part of me, flooding me with peace.
And as I looked around for the first time in a place of amazing brilliance, I saw her. Unspeakable beauty emanated from her, but I knew it wasn’t her own.
She was shining with the light of the One Who had opened my eyes.
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