Any child, who is still allowed to be a child, will ask for help to go into the dark. We, the big people, need to listen to this expression of need. Through a child’s clear expression of vulnerability, which means susceptibility to wounds, a child can find comfort in the dark because of the hand that holds theirs.
However, the child who is forced to deny their God-given need for help, which is exposed by fear, is left to run wildly through the dark, developing rituals to escape that need or manufacturing a multitude of excuses to avoid it.
Darkness is not what the child fears so much. The child fears being in the darkness alone. Darkness is not the problem. Being alone is the problem.
If vulnerability to being in need of relational help is rejected enough, the vulnerability to need itself becomes the object of fear, regardless of what “darkness” one faces. In place of facing our fear through relational help, we grow anxious for control over all fears so as not to be in need of help—vulnerable. “Darkness” of whatever kind becomes the stated problem, when originally, not having vulnerability honored was the real problem.
We are conditioned to think that life’s problems are our problem, when actually rejection of relational vulnerability is a major source of our problems as we face life’s very real struggles. We are conditioned to avoid vulnerability by getting control over life, when we are actually attempting to get control over our own relational needs, and attempting to rid ourselves of our God-given capacity to ask for help.
One might say, “I already did that and it didn’t work, so I will take another approach, one that rules out being in need. I will squash fear and its vulnerability through control.”
Tragically, this solution often manufactures the very things we dread. For instance, if we dread rejection and, as a consequence, avoid intimacy, we wind up alone—creating the very circumstance that we did not want. Our solutions for control become problems when we deeply and simply need to admit the truth: we are afraid. We need a hand of support so that we don’t have to be alone in a life that can often be “dark.” We all need to access the courage of the child in this area, and the resilience of the grown up who can do such.