Let the Son shine in

December 10, 2005

Last weekend I went with my wife to the Panama border down south. She didn’t know the region and well, I had the weekend off and we thought to go drive for hours and have a good time. Down there there’s a tax free place to go and shop, so we thought we would even buy some stuff.

We packed, got in the car, prayed, and off we went. The scenery was beautiful. Once I left the city I was able to remind myself why this is called one of the most beautiful counties in the world. It’s all green. It’s all blue. There’s no room for anything but trees and fruits and blue skies.

We got there. All went well exept that I didn’t look for a place to stay early in the afternoon. I thought, what the heck, we’ll just look for a room late at night. It’s not like there isn’t going to be a room to stay in.
As the moon showed up, we said, OK let’s go look for a place to sleep. No room. No room. No. Nope. Nope, sorry. Sorry. We’re full.
I’m praying now. This town is no Disneyland. Golfito is a small town 25 miles from Panama. Not very popular, not very pretty, but since we were shopping there, it simply was the only option we had.

3 hours. I searched every single place. Motels, hotels, rooms, bed and breakfast. No place to stay. And here comes the big surprise for me. I freak out. I totally 100% start loosing it.

Now this might sound like a normal reaction, but you don’t know me. I stay cool. I don’t get all messed up under stress. I’ve always handled things pretty cooly since I’ve been a kid. Well, not this time says God. This time, stuff’s gonna happen.

I was already 10 miles outside of town, still looking for a place to sleep. (You see, sleeping in the car just isn’t an option in those parts of the world. No security. No police. It’s no man’s land. And I’ve got my wife to think about). So I got to the last bed and breakfast before hitting the main highway. Last option.

No room. Sorry.

And here comes something new to me: terror. Cold, cold terror. My stomach became a tight knot and adrenaline started flowing. Adrenaline O.D. I start throwing up. The idea of the dark highway became terrifying. The idea of the lonely streets became terrifying. Everything became terryfying. Dear God help me, I don’t want to die.

I don’t want to die? What’s going on with me? That’s what I wondered while I was lying on the floor vomiting. Then it all came back to me. My dad driving drunk with me and my 6 year old sister late at night. Darkness. Unknown streets. We drove off into a bank in a mountain. The car rolling. Walking in the darkness holding my sister’s hand trying to stay calm so that she wouldn’t faint from the fear.

It was all coming to me now. 22 years later. It was now in the surface. I was petrified at the thought of driving in the dark. Responsible again not for my sister’s well being but now for my wife’s. Fear as I had never experienced born from within me reaching out. Fear gripped me all night and didn’t let go.

God provided a place to stay. The owner of that last bed and breakfast let us stay in her own house. A blessing. Generosity beyond what I’d do for anyone I didn’t know.

Next day driving back home I felt OK again. I was happy talking to my wife. I’m explaining to her what I felt the previous night. We drove happily for hours and as night time came again, so did the terror. I started shaking a little in the driver’s seat and in a shaky voice said to my wife “It’s here again. I can’t drive. I’m scared.”

Diarrhea. Stomach knot. I went to the bathroom in a nearby McDonalds. I washed my face and said to myself “OK, so what’s the worst that could happen?” It sort of helped.

Back in the car my wife said “Please drive back home. I know you’re scared. But please go on. In 2 hours we’ll be able to get home. There’s no real reason to not do it. It’s all ghosts. Go on. If you can, go on.”

I started driving. I thought. Well, if something happens someone will help. We’ll get help. This is a friendly country. We’re 2 hours from home. Oh God help me get home. Help me drive. Help me get a grip on myself. I started singing old church songs I know by heart. Then some James Taylor, Cat Stevens and some Beatles.

I made it home. It was all OK.

I’m greatful God got those buried down fears that lived inside of me and brought them to the light. I’m glad it all reached the surface. I’m glad He’s in the Healing Game. I’m really happy I could see the darkness that lived inside of me face to face. All these years living with that buried down there, hard to believe.

May God heal us always. May God protect us always.

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5 Responses to “Let the Son shine in”

  1. darla Says:

    in the first part of this story, it sounds familiar… mary and joseph perhaps? it made me wonder about joseph and if he was fearful, finding no place for his wife and him to sleep? how many times they heard, no room, sorry. the second part of your story reminded me of ours…. our car accident happened at night also… we are still trying to battle the fear that comes when we have to travel on the interstate at night… that fear grips our whole family… i hate it. it is getting better, but there’s some left. i am so glad that you found a place to stay…. you’re right, what a blessing that woman was to you to let you and your wife stay in her house…. if only everyone could be so generous and kind.

    thank you for sharing your story…. yes, i’m glad He is in the healing business too! it always seems like it’s so messy at first, but He does a good job of putting the pieces all back together, doesn’t He? may God heal us ALWAYS… sometimes we think that we are healED with an ED… i think like you, that He is ALWAYS healING us… it’s an ongoing process.

    thank you, GOD, for your protection over gaston and his lovely wife… thank you that you are putting the pieces back together for them… thank you that You do shine Your radiant light into those dark places in our souls, that we could never find on our own… You are so glorious that way. thank you that gaston was brave enough to share a part of his story…. thank you that we’re not alone…

  2. darla Says:

    okay…. woah… i just clicked on Rob Bell’s latest sermon (from this past Sunday) and he started off with this verse from Psalm 77 – you ready for this?

    “When I was in distress, I sought the Lord; at night I stretched out untiring hands and my soul refused to be comforted. I remembered you, O God, and I groaned; I mused, and my spirit grew faint. You kept my eyes from closing; I was too troubled to speak. I thought about the former days, the years of long ago; I remembered my songs in the night.”

    sounds like you were doing a bit of “praying” and crying out to God while you were singing your songs at night? 🙂 sounds like He did hear you and send you some comfort to help you get home….. wow… that’s awesome!

  3. dionpugil Says:

    Darla thanks so much for your words and prayers.

    I guess that that singing was some prayer indeed. Man oh man. Sometimes we do get scared out of our pants.

    I just feel better knowing that so much darkness has at least started to emerge to the surface. I wouldn’t want all of that INSIDE of me forever.

    🙂

  4. kingsjoy Says:

    G ~ thanks for sharing this story. He’s been pulling some of my inside stuff out into the light for me to see lately too. For me it’s been a little miserable: I’m having to admit that I’m powerless to change myself–maybe I’m finally convinced. I’m hopeful that this is a healing process for me as well.

    What’s He up to with His Church? It’s good stuff.


  5. A good friend of mine shared a similar story to your own from when he was 6 and how much he has learned that burried memory actually had profound effects on his life.

    I believe God can begin to heal, the more we connect our irrational feelings to pain that is real and actual.

    I pray for your healing as you deal with this Terrible stress.


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