By Judy Brandon: Local Columnist
When I was a child, our family took our vacation to work in a girls’ camp in Canada. Daddy was to be the camp pastor and mother volunteered for kitchen duty. Susie and I were just to live in the cabins with the girls and be regular campers.
On the trip up, we spent two nights in Kansas City, Kan. We knew at camp we would be roughing it for a week so mother and daddy decided to stop in Kansas City for two days to visit seminary friends. We checked in the hotel and settled in for a good night’s sleep.
But something startled us in the early hours past midnight. It was around 1:30 a.m. when a knock on our hotel room door woke us all up. Daddy, surprised at who it might at that hour, jumped out of bed to open the door. We all heard the voice of an excited and harried young man who was employed by the hotel. The attendant warned us a tornado was spotted on the ground and was coming in the direction of the hotel.
Nervously the young man gave us instructions to go downstairs to the basement so we would be safe if the tornado really did hit. The severe thunderstorm had already caused the lights to go out in the hotel so he distributed candles to all the visitors to help light the way to the basement.
We grabbed our robes and daddy took Susie’s hand and mother took mine. Frazzled and still droopy eyed, we traipsed out the door and into the hall. Once in the hall, the hotel personnel told us that the elevator was out of order because of the electricity predicament. We would have to take the long flight of stairs down to the basement, descending by foot, holding on to our candles and robes.
It was a scary experience. As we walked out into the darkened hall, it became more eerie while splashes of light hit our faces for seconds. Tremendous claps of deafening thunder made me grip mother’s hand even tighter. But soon we realized we were not alone because doors were opening all around us as other guests were heeding the warning of the hotel personnel. They too had candles and eve though our little dim candles were not very helpful to a dark hallway, our hearts warmed as we and all the other guests in robes held candles collectively. With many candles, the entire hall lit up. Then once to the stairs, all those candles together gave enough light to guide us all to the hotel basement and safety.
When our lights were united with all the other folks carrying candles, the dark hallway lit up like magic. Our steps became more confidant and our nerves seemed more settled because we could see where we were going.
That experience impresses upon me this singular great thought: Through the storms and dark times of our lives, Jesus is our hope, our light. There is a sense of presence of God in the worst kinds of life’s circumstances. We do not walk alone. God is with us. Jesus himself said, “I am the light for the world. Follow me, and you won’t be walking in the dark. You will have the light that gives life” (John 8:12). Even though the corridors of life may at times be dark, Jesus dispels the darkness and leads us safely through.
Judy Brandon is an instructor at Clovis Community College. Contact her at: