Today I ventured out to a popular mall on the Las Vegas Strip. Upon my ascent up the escalator to the main entry hall I was met by a lady who seemed frantic as she explained to me that there was no power anywhere in the mall. I tried to assure her that these sometime occur here and not to worry as I maneuvered into the main corridor. Well, she was right. There were no lights, the restaurants stopped all service, the stores had the roll cages pulled down for security and you would think we were there after hours by mistake.
I couldn’t help but notice the people seemingly lost. Some paced back and forth nervously, others just sat quietly in the darkness and still others had their noses pressed against the store front windows as if they might see something if they looked intently enough. For a bunch of tourists on vacation, it was a very somber mood, almost like a zombie apocalypse movie.
Rather than sit with them I decided to walk the halls just to keep moving. There was a heavy security presence at every turn guarding stores and merchandise. The fountains were silent as I rounded another corner but still I walked. And then, a store with power, and another followed by others. Turning another corner it was clear that this part of the mall had power and was fully functioning with food being served and cashiers ringing up sales. Only half of the mall was without power but I would have never discovered that had I simply sat in the darkness with the others. And all those who sat there this afternoon may be under the impression that the whole mall was dark because they never ventured out to discover otherwise.
That’s a bit the story of my life this past year. Many of the things that brought light into my world have been removed leaving the feeling of navigating through darkness. Perhaps you are reading this and can relate. And like those people in the mall the tendency is to just sit and wait out the darkness or to feel helpless that there are no source of light anywhere within your immediate view. I can freely admit that at times I stopped moving and just stood there wondering what’s next, do I keep moving or just fade into the background. When you are exposed to prolonged darkness it becomes a familiar place if not a familiar friend, almost comforting if that makes any sense.
But with time you learn that your surroundings or circumstances may never change, and your only recourse is to change your location, that is keep moving. A popular Psalm says “even when I walk through the valley of shadows…”. Its a journey that compels us forward even when we sense little direction, motivation or benefit for doing so. And it’s a path that we truly never travel alone even though the isolation is at times overwhelming.
I’m so glad I kept walking through the dark halls of that mall today to the well-lit portion full of lively people enjoying their day. It was one of those “a-ha” moments, a real life lesson.