I stood there staring out the large picture window in our kitchen that faced the front road about a football field’s distance away. It was dark, and I was around 11 years old. My face was at first filled with curiosity and it at once went to panic as I realized that my sister had left one of the barn lights on. It was her turn to do the chores, and she missed shutting off the light on her way out.
The Light off
This didn’t mean that she would have to turn that light off. It was the luck of the draw when it came to those things. As I looked to the left and saw the light, the revelation and the urge to run before my father saw it seemed to collide in ultimate chaos as the voice of my father cursing behind me blotted out everything.
Go To the Light
“Geeezus Krice, Kim, get out there and shut that light off”. My dad swung his arm out with the pointed finger of God. I knew that meant now, and it also meant certain death if I didn’t obey. I mumbled as all children do and a swat got me going to the utility room to don the manly black rubber barn boots that went up almost to my knees and were certainly too big for my feet. There was no complaint of unfairness issued, I had been tried and unjustly condemned.
The Night and The Light
The rain had left the barn yard muddy and sometimes you would hear the vacuous sucking sound when you walked, as the mud attempted to enslave you. That night, it would not serve to calm my nerves as you had to be silent. I stepped out the back door of the house knowing intuitively that stealth would be the best course of action. Even when I was younger I gravitated toward books like, “The Amityville Horror” and any Stephen King novel I could get my hands on. Those indulgences served to turn me into a scared little rabbit girl.
Be Quiet In The Dark
You had to be quiet in the dark. I don’t know why, but one single sound made the universe stare at you with its ugly teeth and glowing demon eyes. It wanted me for some unknown purpose, and I was terrified it would claim me before I ever got to the safety of the barn light. My flashlight swung wildly around at every sound and the neighbors probably thought I was trying to flag down a plane more than scare away the boogie man. The wind whistled around me and the walk to that old barn seemed to take forever. I was alone.
Big Foot and Aliens
I got there in one piece, and the chickens were enjoying the light and cooing as they slept. Half the journey complete, I stood there in the strange silence. I now had to shut that light off and run in those barn boots to stay intact and not be captured by big foot or some alien with an appetite for children. Turning off the light alerted everything that was unknown to my presence. I would be exposed and vulnerable as my only weapon was a seven-inch flashlight.
In that moment, I remember standing there with my hand on the pull chain to the barn door. I was just breathing for a moment to get my panic under control. Then, I took a deep breath and yanked the door open as if someone fired off a shot for Olympic runners at the starting blocks. What lay ahead was a marathon race back to the house and safety.
The mud grabbed a hold of my boots and pulled, “pfhwuck” “pfhwuck” against my spindly legs. The size of the boots threatened to hurl me forward in my bare feet as I would not have stopped for those damn boots. Fear drove me along with a state of utter panic. It seemed my whole life was reduced to those seconds as I yanked my feet upward over and over again and stepped my way onto the dirt circle driveway.
Then the sound of my feet changed to “clumpfh”, “clumpfh”, “clumpfh”, while I ran on the gravel to the back porch. My heart was pounding in my chest and I could hear it in my ears like the drum dance of danger. Yet, I never slowed, my focus only on the flashlight and the ground beneath my feet. Had Bigfoot been standing in my driveway, I would have run right into his stinky, hairy embrace.
A Lover of Light
It wasn’t long before I was once again safe and would now spend some time grumbling at my sister for leaving the light on in the first place. She would more than likely blame me, and we would argue for a bit, until my ADHD got the better of me, and all was soon forgotten. That run would play out more than once in my childhood. The barn had some happy memories for me but most of them were reminders of how afraid of the dark I was as a child.
The unknown is scary, not just for a child, but can be for adults as well. We don’t want to have to venture out into the dark places, but would prefer to remain in the light. The reality of our existence is that often dark places stand between two points of light. To see the latter we must traverse the dark unknown. This is most poignant when learning the truth about walking as a son of God in a spirit led lifestyle.
Comfort Isn’t Always Good
I don’t like to go out into the unknown. I would much rather stay in the comfort of what I know and expand from where I am. When we consider what the Word of God really is, we must allot for those places of uncertainty. There, we meditate on and ask the Holy Spirit to teach us instead of relying on interpreting some law.
Don’t Be Afraid
We cannot come in holding the flashlight of our truth and refuse to even consider that our understanding may be wrong. Don’t be afraid of the dark, or the unknown. Light will uncover and reveal as it exposes errors. It amazes me how many people do not even have a solid foundation on a particular topic in their heart, but will argue a position they are unsure of, too stubborn to admit they might not know everything.
Others will think they know the truth and will not even fashion a glance at the evidence that they could be wrong. They bully people, when they should be considerate. God says, “come, let us reason together”. What a statement and an example! More often than not, I have found those who are blinded by religion are deaf as well.
Humility, Not Position
The best course of action is one of humility, not position. If one is standing on the top of a hill and daring others to push them off (of their particular understanding of truth), this adversarial stance will not be fruitful. A battle is either won or lost, but this is not how we should consider truth.
Truth should be considered openly and honestly by all parties, with the understanding that God is perfect, and human beings can err. How arguments would change if we truly loved our brothers and sisters and considered each other. Isn’t that what the religious and non-religious alike should be doing? Should we listen first as Solomon admonished?
Charlton Heston was a public figure of my childhood along with John Wayne and other’s long gone now. When they cast him in, “The Ten Commandments” he would change my heart forever. There was a moment when he threw out the conventional way. As Moses, Charlton stood there at the mountain, where God would later turn his hair white. He proclaimed that he wanted to hear the word of God from God himself. That changed me from the depths of my heart.
Hey God, Speak to Me
We should be asking to hear the word of God from God Himself. I am asking you, in essence, to go turn off the barn light. That light was left on for a reason, even though it makes you feel uncomfortable, it needs to be dealt with. It’s scary, but there’s a truth out there and It wants you to see it. In the darkness is your fear of letting go of the safety of your house and all that you feel good about. A greater truth lies in venturing out to that place you are afraid to go. Consider that God is bigger than they told you, so big in fact that God is able to speak directly to you.
Leave, Because It’s Right
What I’m asking you to believe as you leave the safety of your religious house and traverse what you feel is dangerous, is that God’s word is alive and so vibrant that it’s new every single time. Keep going and use that flashlight, we will make it to the barn, I promise. Try to believe that God can and does talk by the spirit to you. The barn is up ahead and the cooing of the chickens will comfort you for a moment. Breathe and think. You are okay.
You Can’t Be Separated From the Love of God
As you consider this possibility, more lies ahead. I know they told you that you will probably get eaten by Big Foot or abducted by aliens that want to experiment with your body. They may have said you would go to Hell or wouldn’t make it to Heaven if you even considered what I’m telling you, but it’s the truth. God does speak, to all of us, not just pastor’s or people who wrote letters of encouragement they never intended to become a replacement law.
Time To Soldier On
Time to leave the safety of the barn again. Deep breath, ready, hold tight to the flashlight. God mandated that we confer with one another in mutual submission. Oh, it doesn’t mean what they told you it was. God didn’t kiss our foreheads to condemn us under a dictator operating in a hierarchy and calling him or herself a pastor. No, all the children of a father are the same, and given the same consideration. Don’t allow the mud to pull your boots down, keep heading toward home.
Unity is Everything and Possible
What happens when adults who submit to each other come together with the purpose of telling the world that God loves them and doesn’t give a shit about sin? They fast and pray for a spirit led direction. When they come to a place of unity, they use a very democratic way of resolving any differences. That democracy is love and consideration, one for another. In this beautiful place, all are one and all are a body with a spiritual head. It is our destiny.
Look Around, It’s Okay
My hope is that you have stopped running toward the house at this point. That perhaps you have allowed yourself to consider all that I’m saying and the fear of the unknown has allowed you to stop scanning with the flashlight. Maybe you have stopped to listen to the sound of all the life and love that is surrounding you in this moment. As you stand there and realize that Christ in you is really that hope of glory, let fear be swallowed up by this perfect love.
Read Me, and I’ll Read You
The truth is here, in this moment. You are capable of winging it alone, or with a body of believers. Be brave and take the time to explore, it’s the only way to find the truth. You are never a single unit, but a part of something greater. Something within you will witness that what I’m telling you is truth. We are each a walking epistle to be read of all men, a living testament. That truth that is speaking to you is that we do not live by the dead letter of the law. God is alive and worth the walk to the barn.
Available publications by PK Langley
PK’s Fine Art Store where you can find many of the Frustrated Grace Prints.
PK writes short stories about life. They are in the form of ebooks for $1.37 each. Get them here.
Religious Deconstruction, The Frustrated Grace Series is now available, with over two hundred comic images on Amazon. You can get a preview of every single one here.
All Things Equal, is an exposition for women and how God
sees them from a very “biblical” point of view. It was what I needed in my first push toward deconstruction. If you are still in a church, and a woman, this is a great book to start. Get it here.
LangleyTown has a specific page for materials that will help you with your deconstruction. Find them here.
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