Looking for Streetlights

It can get very dark in the back woods of Georgia, especially in Thomson. The street I grew up on would be pitch black if it wasn’t for the scattered streetlights. There’s probably one every five hundred feet! I know you’re thinking, that’s it? Yep! Every night, there’s at least two people that are brave enough to either ride their bikes back and forth or succumb to walking.  Not only is the darkness a problem, but the possibility of running into loose dogs, big or small. Having a stick in your hand maybe enough, but what if it isn’t? What if it isn’t big enough to fend off bats that swoop a little too low or anything that decides to leap out of the bushes and grab you? Looks like you need a bigger weapon.

Hope. That may not sound like much to you, but this bad boy has gotten me out of many situations. I use to be quite afraid of the dark, even while sleeping a few feet away from my mom and two sisters. My imagination would create scenarios, making it difficult to close my eyes during bedtime. One thing that I never considered was getting up to either cut on the lights or simply turn the switch on the lamp. Darkness cannot exist in the presence of light. Simple fact! The darkest moments in our lives can be quite overwhelming, especially when it’s thick enough to breathe in and let consume your lungs. You sometimes find yourself choking on it. Hope can clear that up quicker than Mucinex and Sudafed any day!

I’ve probably walked that street once or twice. I could feel the countless bugs bombard my personal space. The sound of dogs barking and communicating would bellow from the backyards of houses. My feet would pick up speed, yet it felt like I couldn’t get to my destination fast enough. Farther down the road from where ever I was stood a tall streetlight, being invaded by moths and other insects. Such opposition didn’t prevent it from shining, giving me the glow I needed to proceed. Once I’m there, I can see the ground around me and beyond the noises. It wasn’t just my legs that got me there, but hope—my source of energy and resilience. It was hope that restored a relationship with one of my older sisters. It was hope that strengthened the bond between my father and myself. It was hope that got me through college and caused me to want to enjoy life post-graduation.

Look for the streetlights. They provide the reassurance during your travel. It’s not going to be easy. Fear will probably accompany you more during this time than anyone else.  Someone is depending on you reaching your destination. You’re going to give them a reason to move forward. Think of the people in your life that if they never would have proceeded, you wouldn’t be who and where you are today. Be the example. Become a nightwalker that welcomes darkness like Bane and Batman. Use it, for farther down is light, waiting to shine upon your situation.

- Calvin Pennywell, Jr.