Scared of the Dark

Scared of the Dark

by Rich Mullins

September 17, 1997

i don't remember meeting Him
He had just always been there.
when people ask me, "how did you meet the Lord?"
i don't know how to answer.
meeting Him seems unavoidable
recognizing Him can be tricky
loving Him seems impossible.
people often ask that too - "do you love Jesus?"
and again i'm stuck for an answer
i know the right one - the answer you're
supposed to give
i know that it presupposes so many things
that it could hardly
be honest
so i say
as much as i love,
i love Jesus.

if love was easier, i would love Him more
but then again
if love was easier, it would hardly be worth
the little
it would ask
if i was stronger, i would love Him more
or maybe
i would more know how little i love

we grow slowly,
and love takes time ...
He's always been there
even in that dark room where i
slept as a child
scared of the dark
in that room that seemed to want
to suck me deep into the night's
great lungs
i hated the thought that we were all
hanging upside down - off the bottom of the
and that all that darkness out there that we
might fall into
was just a shadow of our own selves
just a shadow you could fall through forever.

she said that You were out there too
and then she'd tuck me in so tight that i
would likely be safe
till morning
but no woman - not even your own mother
can kiss you without mixing some unspoken
into her affection
and i always thought
she might be kissing me good-bye
as well as good night.

my aunt said Jesus would knock on the
door of my heart
and if i would open the door
He'd come in and sup with me
and when i was old enough to be ashamed of
trying to tether
myself to my mom
(with that last desperate good night)
i decided
that instead of lying there being afraid
i would listen for His knock.
i heard all kinds of things
scary things
amplified by the dark
and by my nervous and hopeful listenings
was it the voice of Eli? or the call of God?
was it the limbs of the trees outside?
or the knock i was to open to?

i did not worry about what Jesus would find
to eat if He came in
i was a child and knew that out of a crowd
a boy would most likely have some fish and
some loaves

but i am no longer a child
i am no longer afraid of the dark
i have new things to fear
i am no longer afraid that i will drift away
from this world
i am afraid i will never escape it.
and i'm not afraid of good-byes
i've become so used to them it scares me.

i have never heard any knocking sound
that was distinct from every other noise
but i have learned to listen and
i'm thankful for learning

i don't know that the rumble of the thunder
or the crackle in a good fire
or the hum of my wheels
is the sound of Jesus knocking on
the door of my heart
but i'm thankful to Him for all
those sounds
and for giving me ears
and for teaching me to listen.

i don't know that the lonely ache that i
feel - even when times are the best
and friends are near -
is the way that it feels when He knocks,
when He calls,
but i'm thankful to have a heart.
i don't know that He would like everything in it
or that He would find any fish or loaves
or much besides stone and snakes.

but sometimes
i get really brave, and
if i don't open the door
i at least unlock it

and when i look in
or when i look out
i can see that He's just always been there.

meeting Him seems unavoidable
recognizing Him can be tricky
loving Him seems impossible.

we grow slowly,
and love takes time.