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.