On a shuttered stretch of road, even the Pik-N-Pay has dimmed its lights for the night. School buses wait coralled like cattle, sleeping standing up.
But Lighthouse Baptist Church keeps sentry. Blinking red and bright, its marquee testifies in all caps.
I’m tempted to lift a hand off the steering wheel to give a witness, say Amen. Preach on.
But the sign has more to say.
“April 16, 6:30 p.m.”
Good book says no man knows the hour. Lighthouse Baptist Church apparently begs to differ.
JESUS SAVES!!! April 16, 6:30 p.m.
At first, exhaustion makes me think I’ve missed the chance. Isn’t it May already? No, still time. Deliverance’s date lies yet ahead. Just a week to go.
Unless they meant last year. Or 2013.
Lighthouse Baptist Church doesn’t specify which April 16.
In the dark, I’m thankful for the reminder.
Red lights, too, on the alarm clock. 12:49 a.m.
The knocking on the bedroom door has quiet determination.
The sound slices sleep’s spell, but doesn’t clear the fog in time, and I murmur, “Who is it?”
Of course. My brown-eyed boy. Sleep won’t come to him, either. He hears noises.
The whir of the air conditioner, the brushes of trees, the clickety-clack of the dogs’ too-long toenails on the hardwood hallway.
Filtered through his past, they sound like monsters. Caseworkers and court dates came to his aid and rescued him from the tangible threats. But in the dark, invisible ones can still get through the safeguards love is building.
I sit beside him, patting his back, sentry to a return invasion of fear. He drifts back to sleep.
Easter Sunday, I heard his voice whisper after the preacher as he prayed the sinner’s prayer, his smaller hand holding mine tight. Next Sunday, he wants to be baptized, and in the waters of the Guadalupe River, take another step towards washing that past away.
Yes, Jesus saves.
But sometimes, in the darkness, we need each other’s reminding.
My sleep scared off by barking dogs and worried children, I pour a glass of water and flip open the laptop, hoping for bedtime stories in benign status updates.
Instead, a train wreck is unfolding. Life going off the tracks, played out a sentence at a time on the screen.
1,677 “friends” are the priests hearing a litany of your cyber confessionals that end like this:
“In a relationship and its complicated.”
You wonder how far your tank of gas will take you, and what you will find when it runs out. And, having met you only once two decades ago, I am hardly qualified to advise or to comment on words poured out as you sit in the car.
But if I were, I’d suggest a trip south, ending April 16, 6:30 p.m., at Lighthouse Baptist Church.
Because the truth and transparency you want? It starts with the words on the marquee.
And sometimes, in the darkness, we need reminding.