The Darkness Of The Deep

Today, the book I read [1] gave a story that the author had witnessed that struck me particularly deeply:

“Several years ago, as I was pulling out of the strip mall where I had just picked up pizza for dinner, I saw something that shocked me, in broad daylight. A man was leaning over a young girl, about three of our years old. I assumed he was her father. I was in my car with my windows rolled down, and it took me a few seconds to register what was happening.

This father had grabbed ahold of the girl’s right arm with his left hand, and with his right hand, he was repeatedly striking her. Her dark hair hung in loose ringlets, and she was wearing a yellow raincoat with black boots. She was not moving. Her head was down; I assume she was crying.

I do not remember what the father looked like. I just remember the sickening outrage I felt in the deep waters of my own psyche. I had stopped my car and was staring. I had no idea what to do. Should I get out? What would I say? Should I call the police? Would they come in time? Was I really seeing this?

Before I knew what I was doing, I pulled away from that scene, away from the man with the voice that yelled and the hands that hit. I didn’t say anything. I didn’t do anything. I just drove away.

Someday, that little girl who was pulled down into the dark, swirling waters of abuse will need to face what happened to her that day. And when that day comes, she’ll need all the help she can get (114-115).”

Psalm 88, one of the few psalms of the Bible with no positive resolution, speaks of these depths. Psalm 88:6-8 reads: “You have laid me in the lowest pit; in darkness, in the depths. Your wrath lies heavy upon me, and you have afflicted me with all your waves. You have put away my acquaintances far from me; you have made me an abomination to them; I am shut up, and cannot get out.” Later on in a few verses, the psalmist Heman, a grandson of Samuel and a descendent of the notorious Korah [2], continues in verses 13-18: “But to You I have cried out, O Lord, and in the morning my prayer comes before You. Lord, why do You cast off my soul? Why do You hide Your face from me? I have been afflicted and ready to die from my youth; I suffer Your terrors; I am distraught. Your fierce wrath has gone over me; Your terrors have cut me off. They came around me all day long like water; they engulfed me altogether. Loved one and friend You have put far from me, and my acquaintances into darkness.”

For all my life, for reasons that are at least somewhat obscure to me, my melancholy heart has been drawn to the deeps. I have long lived in areas where water has been of supreme importance. In some of those areas fierce little rivers have cut their way through ancient mountains as they searched for a path to the sea. In other areas, the water table has been close to the surface, and where past sinkholes became lakes that dotted the swampy landscape, and where lazy rivers slowly coursed through the flat land between the Atlantic and the Gulf of Mexico. In still other places the survival of the place where I lived depended on water stolen from others, and where a once wild little river had been tamed in concrete, a reminder of the violence done because people could not let a river run wild and free, changing its course and threatening the stability of the people who had settled in that plain between the mountains and the sea. In still other places floods threatened from rivers that were long ignored until they overtopped the constricting levees because of storms. From time immemorial mankind has been drawn to the water, has needed water for survival, but has witnessed the unpredictability that the water brought as well. That which we need, which we long for, can all too easily be our ruin.

Looking bluntly at the story told by the author of the book I read, he proved himself to be a moral coward who had not prepared himself to face the evil of this world that sometimes is hidden away in trailers in the country, and sometimes is exposed in broad daylight in cities and towns all over this country and all over the world. We live in a world deeply scarred by evil. Yesterday, for example, I was looking up information about Stone Temple Pilots when I came upon information about Chester Bennington, the lead singer of Linkin Park, who had talked about the abuse he faced for years, and the surprising grace he showed to his abuser when he realized that his abuser had been a victim as well. All too often abuse is in generational cycles, as people act out the way that others have acted towards them, until someone is brave enough, despite the horrors that they have seen, to break the cycle and refuse to let it carry on, regardless of the torments they face from their own memories and fears. The deeps of our world are not merely in canyons and in the oceans, about which we know so little even if they connect the world in which we live. The deeps of this world exist in the darkness inside our hearts, in the horrors of our memory and imagination, and in the spiritual darkness we all have to face down, with such courage and skill as we have been given by God above. God willing, we may not only be able to face down these depths in our own lives, but be able to help rescue others from the depths that they face in their own lives, so that we may provide an example of light and peace that extends beyond ourselves to those who may see and be inspired by the life that we live in spite of everything.


[2] See, for example:

About nathanalbright

I'm a person with diverse interests who loves to read. If you want to know something about me, just ask.
This entry was posted in Bible, Christianity, History, Music History, Musings and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to The Darkness Of The Deep

  1. Pingback: Character, Like A Photograph, Develops In Darkness | Edge Induced Cohesion

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  3. Pingback: The Madness Of Calculators | Edge Induced Cohesion

  4. Pingback: The Shadow Of The Day Will Embrace The World In Gray | Edge Induced Cohesion

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