"I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life." ~ John 8:12

Have you ever been lost in the dark? Literally or figuratively? Pretty scary stuff—and for me, both events happened in the same week. My experience gave me some things to think about as Holy Week approaches.

My husband and I are in the middle of several significant life changes right now. We’re pregnant with our first baby, he’s in the middle of switching careers, and we just sold our house and are living with my sister until our new home in the country is ready. Of course, amid all these changes, Hubby wrecked his truck and we need to find a “new old” one ASAP. And of course, we experienced drama regarding the sale of our house. Our buyer attempted to back out four days before closing -- after we had already moved and completed their list of repair requests!

Despite the fact that the majority of these changes are good things -- things well worth the temporary struggle and things we had hoped for or planned for -- the darkness began to close in on me fast a few weeks ago. I was pregnant, stressed, and in the middle of a huge transition in almost every area of my life. In this short time span, it seemed like a domino effect of negative events — the more things could go wrong, the more things went wrong! I  cried at work every day for a solid week (which, by the way, is not the most professional look for a receptionist). I cried on the phone with my mom, not sure what to do next or how to regain control of my life. I prayed, of course, but nothing seemed to give me the comfort I sought. I knew God heard me, and I knew He was there, but my spirit wasn’t feeling it.

Lights Out!

Then, one evening, I made a trip to our rental storage room to put away the last box from our now-vacant house. Hubby was off doing other things and my parents weren’t available to take me. I figured Hey, it's one box and a few pairs of shoes -- nothing heavy. I can manage! So, I punched in the code at the gate, drove around to the back and lugged the box and shoes onto the complimentary dolly stowed just inside the warehouse door.

The way this particular storage warehouse is laid out is somewhat like a maze. Long corridors of nothing but wall-to-wall, pull-down, blue aluminum doors. No windows. The warehouse itself is huge, housing somewhere around two hundred units, of various sizes. I’ve been before with my husband when there were several other people milling about, and I’ve also been with him when it seemed completely deserted.

This evening was one of the deserted times.

No matter. I pushed the rolling dolly toward the storage unit, thankfully remembering how to get to our rented room in the maze of corridors from my last visit. The emptiness of the warehouse made me a little uneasy, so I quickly tried to free our padlock so I could shove the box in and get out of there.

Of course, the key wouldn’t work. I wrestled with it for several minutes, bending low on my knees and peering up at the lock, trying to see why the key didn’t want to fit.

“Come on!” I muttered and grunted and apologized to my in utero baby girl for temporarily squishing her.

Then the lights went out.

Just like that. No flicker, no warning, nothing. Just sudden, suffocating darkness. Have I mentioned I have claustrophobic tendencies?

I froze – I know, it’s cliché but the only proper description I can offer. Then my heart jumpstarted with all the force of a Corvette off a red light. I clutched the padlock key so I wouldn’t drop it and strained through the darkness.

Nothing. Just black.

Panic gripped my stomach, and I stumbled over the dolley, catching myself against the side wall. I couldn’t see. Could barely breathe. My thoughts jumbled into a single mantra—Oh God, oh God, oh God, ohGodohGodohGod…

As I stood there, heart pounding and thoughts racing, my eyes slowly adjusted. The green glow of an exit light at the end of the long corridor from which I’d come swam into focus. I kept my eyes on the light and gingerly made my way down the hall, one hand trailing the wall of doors. I didn’t care about the box or dolly I was leaving behind, didn’t care about my husband’s work boots sitting on top of the box. Nothing mattered except making it to that light, the light I knew led to my escape, to freedom, to air…

Nothing was as beautiful to me as that neon green exit sign. When I rounded the corner, the last waning glow of the evening sun shone through the cracked open door. Once I got my bearings, I realized why the overhead lights had gone off in the first place. Not because of all the reasons my over-active writer’s mind had concocted (someone turned them off on purpose to hunt me, the building was about to explode, someone had stalked me and followed me in to rob me, etc.) No, they went dark because the lights are on a timer. Apparently, when you come inside the warehouse, you’re supposed to make sure the timer button by the door is turned all the way to 60 minutes. That way there’s no danger of the lights going out on you.

Info that would have been lovely to know about 45 minutes earlier.

I jacked the timer to its full allotment and, after several deep breaths, completed the task of unlocking our unit and storing our last box (which, thankfully, was where I left it on the dolly and not in the hands of a crook! I know, I know, us silly writers!)