Beyond Pride #2: Candles in the Dark

When I was about ten years old, I had my bedroom in the basement of our house. That room may not fit with the image that the term ‘basement’ typically conjures to mind. This was no austere storage room or dreary storm cellar. Instead, the place was comfortably finished: carpet on the floor, paint on the walls. It had electricity. There was a large closet under the stairs. It was a fantastic place to spend time and play. What I remember best, though, is none of those perks. No, what impacted me most was that when the lights went out the room descended into a darkness so total that it was nothing but unbroken black.

As I’ve grown older, my fear of darkness has mitigated. As a boy I wasn’t so brave. I didn’t sleep in that inky seclusion, and a tiny nightlight wasn’t enough. Instead, I opted to leave the closet light on. It threw back the shadows and provided a pool of glowing warmth that I clung to.

I desperately didn’t want to be alone in that total darkness. Mostly this was because in the dark you can never be truly certain you are alone. The imagination becomes a terror as every creaky board and thumping footfall becomes a monster lurking beyond sight. In the dark, you can know that your friends are not huddled next to you, but you can never be certain that your enemies aren’t creeping closer.