It’s been a rough week. Thursday and Friday I wasn’t feeling well, so I nuzzled up into my fleece blanket and watched a bit of the Twilight Zone (the original series) on Netflix. I used to watch reruns of this series as a kid and I will always remember the intro. :
There is a fifth dimension beyond that which is known to man. It is a dimension as vast as space and as timeless as infinity. It is the middle ground between light and shadow, between science and superstition, and it lies between the pit of man’s fears, and the summit of his knowledge. This is the dimension of imagination. It is an area which we call … The Twilight Zone.
What always strikes me is this phrase, “the pit of man’s fears.” What lies in our deepest and darkest thoughts?
What draws me into watching this series time after time is a combination of good (even bizarre) writing and hysteria. The first episode I watched was from Season 2,Episode 6. Eye of the Beholder. Now, if you are unfamiliar, it is the episode where a woman is hospitalized for a long period of time in order to treat what she believes is a physical malformation. To the outside world she is horrifyingly ugly. What we come to find by the end of the episode is that she is actually quite the opposite of deformed. We see, in this episode, the women’s self loathing, her fear of how others will perceive her, and rejection from her community. She doesn’t have the ability to see what us, the audience, sees, rather, she only sees what the outside world tells her. Towards the end of the episode, she begs the doctor who has been treating her to let her go outside and experience the fresh air. She finds comfort in being outside and says that the fresh air will make her feel human. I couldn’t help but think of times in my life when I felt less than human.
The pit of our fears – these are our demons. They say:
You are worthless.
You are ugly.
You will never be loved.
You are a horrible person.
You are not a person of value in this society
The next episode I saw was from Season 2, Episode 7. Nick of Time. This episode is about a couple on their honeymoon who stops in a small town to get their car fixed. While they are waiting for their car to get fixed, the couple goes into a diner for a bite to eat and come in contact with a Seer. All the Seer really is a napkin holder that spits out obscure fortunes for one penny. Noticing how the vague fortune teller seems to give the couple accurate and/or logical answers to their questions, the man becomes obsessed with knowing the future. Ultimately, the man becomes consumed with his fear of future and the unknown. His fear becomes so blown out of proportion that he can not peel himself away. Finally, his wife is able to talk some sense into him and he is able to leave the penny machine behind.
The last episode I watched was Season 1, Episode 16, The Hitchhiker. The Hitchhiker tells a tale of a young twenty something woman traveling across country alone who keeps coming in contact with this hitchhiker who has been following her for miles. We see the woman entangled in the fear of this man who has been following her and the uncertainty of his motives. We soon learn that she has actually died in a car accident while traveling and this Hitchhiker is the personification of Death.
While I was watching these episodes, I was thinking about our greatest fears and our most darkest moments. The Twilight Zone illustrates the depths of human fear, anxiety, and sadness. What these three episodes show is that darkness dwells on Earth. This darkness soaks into the recess of our minds and shreds any piece of normality or peace we have. Like the woman with the bandages, we are told we are worthless. Like the man in the diner, we believe we can not be satisfied in the present without knowing the future. Like the woman in the car, we become fearful of death and overcome with sorrow.
Sometimes we might even ask, where is God in darkness?
This life is full of terrible things. I, myself, have experienced terrible things. Some of the terrible things that I have experienced I have not even shared with my own family. I, too, have asked, God where are you? How could you forsake me in this time of sorrow, stress, anxiety, mourning, etc?
God dwells among us. He sits and suffers with us.
The demons that tell us that we are worthless, that we can’t trust God, that God made us suffer because we are bad- those are lies. They are not of God. God is a God of light not darkness. The Bible doesn’t say that bad things won’t happen to us if we believe in God. No, quite the opposite. In fact, the Bible says that there will always be suffering in human life. However, that doesn’t mean that God disappears when bad things happen. Finding God in our darkest moments means having an understanding that yes, sometimes really horrific things might/will happen to us, but that doesn’t mean God will leave us. Faith means believing in things unseen. It might seem stupid in such a messed up world to believe in God, but this where faith comes into play. We do not have the capability to see into the future nor can we truly understand the brokenness of the world. What we can do is trust that God is with us. Through the madness, we will make it through.