Night Walks

It’s a little game I play with myself.

I got for walks every night around ten, when the streets are quiet and the night breathes with the life hiding behind solid walls and glowing windows. I like the night. I can stroll and muse. I can take my time without anyone thinking I’m odd for standing in the middle of the street, absorbing the sleeping world.

As I walk unnoticed in the shadows, a little fear, small and deep like a puncture wound, stings my heart. I’m a woman walking alone at night, and the fear of a car storming in from nowhere, blinding lights, grasping hands, and a swift anguished end to my life, this fear is never very far. Nor is it unreasonable.

So I say a prayer: “Lord, thank you for this night. Please keep me safe”, and this prayer is the undertow, the heartbeat of every thought and breath as I skip across the sidewalk.

As I pray, my heart swells with courage. I feel invincible, because the Father to which I pray is everywhere, in everything, with infinite power and strength.

But my bravery is squelched when I remember all the others, the men and women and children, who’ve been taken and violated and butchered. I wonder why I should feel so safe. What makes me so special, that I should be protected when others haven’t been so fortunate? I feel guilty asking my Father to keep me safe, yet terrified that He might not.

Then I remember the bravery and peace I had just moments before. I remember standing tall and laughing at the shadows, fierce against my fears, and I remember that protection is a gift. It’s a gift I grasp while wondering why I have it. But in this moment, it is mine, and there’s nothing I can do but use it.

I come to this conclusion hesitantly, rather uncomfortably, knowing why and yet not knowing why. It’s an unrestful sort of rest. But it’s the only rest there is.

So after cycling through these thoughts several times on my nightly walk, I skip home over the pavement. I’ll think all these things again tomorrow.

It’s a little game I play with myself.

 

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