Once upon a time, I was a hunter. These days I fish. If I don’t want to clean fish, I just let them go, which is ninety-nine percent of the time. When a person hunts, there is all sorts of cleaning, processing and cooking to do. Then after you do all of that, you have to clean stuff up. I hate cleaning.
The one thing I miss about hunting is sitting in the tree stand in the dark, early in the morning.
I sat in silence, almost always alone. I’d settle in and try to not make a single sound. I even tried to breathe more quietly.
There, in the dark, the woods came alive. There were animals moving through the leaves that coated the forest floor.
I’d try to figure out what they were. Maybe that one was a raccoon getting ready to call it a night. Maybe that one was a coyote heading for wherever it is coyotes go. Perhaps that noise was a turkey, stirring on its roost before it not-so-gracefully plopped itself down onto the ground.
I’d try to figure it out but I never knew what was going on around me. It was dark.
Some mornings the darkness seemed like it would never end. I’d sit, getting colder by the second, squinting through the darkness trying to see if there was somehow a bit of something I could make out among the shadows.
Then it would happen.
It was amazing every single time.
The sun would give a tiny bit of light and the shadows turned into gray ghosts, playing tricks on my eyes, making me think I saw things I wasn’t really seeing. I would stare intently, trying to focus on those things in the distance but I just couldn’t quite make them out.
I tried to hurry the sun up above the horizon. But it never hurried. It came up right when it was supposed to. Sometimes the rising was just a dull light that lit up the gray sky filled with clouds. Other times it was a magnificent light show as its rays bounced off of things and flooded the day with color. At other times, it just made a spectacular solo appearance as a ball of bright light that burst into the morning sky.
That light turned the shadows and the gray ghosts into trees, fields, fences and wildlife.
That is what I miss about hunting.
I think I might give it a go again minus my gun or bow. Maybe not, since I’d have to get up before breakfast to do it.
John 3:19 And the judgment is based on this fact: God’s light came into the world, but people loved the darkness more than the light, for their actions were evil. 20 All who do evil hate the light and refuse to go near it for fear their sins will be exposed. 21 But those who do what is right come to the light so others can see that they are doing what God wants.
Here is something I need to always remember. I sat in darkness. I was cold and everything I heard was mysterious and threatening. I couldn’t see anything. The rustling in my mind turned into great big monsters wanting to devour me. I couldn’t see them.
Then the light came.
It blazed upon the things that I feared. It shone light on the monsters that turned out to be not scary at all. In fact, they were just the shadows of things that can’t even move toward me.
The things I was afraid to see, once seen, were powerless.
I need to always step into the light when I am afraid. There is nothing there to hurt me. There is only an awesome dawn of a new realization that I am far too afraid of things that have no power over me.
I need to greet the dawn of each new day with expectation of the unexpected, excitement that I can see what was once invisible and the beauty of life stepping out of darkness into God’s glorious light.
It is about sun up now. Enjoy this day.