Dumped in Utter Darkness. The Totem Name, Part 1

It was the worst night of my life. One minute I was in my sleeping bag, fast asleep, dreaming about the fun we had been having at camp, and the next, I found myself being hauled out of my tent between two body guards, blindfolded, gagged, and thrown into the backseat of a tiny car with my captors piled in beside and on top of me. Then the car roared into life and proceeded to drive-very quickly!-away from my tent.

I had no idea where I was being taken. I had no idea who had taken me. I had no idea why I would be treated this way. What had I done to deserve this type of action???

But my captors were far too busy keeping my hands away from my blindfold-or anything else for that matter-to explain it to me. In fact, they were completely silent. Whether this was by design or whether they were simply too busy holding on for dear life, I didn't know; but as the car began slamming around, from the left to the right and back again, the only thought that entered my mind was how glad I was they weren't torturing me. Yet...

I tried to stay oriented at first, but there was no way anyone, even unblindfolded, would have been able to keep their bearings with that car slinging around from the left to the right, roaring over rough terrain, and flying over gullies! Was it all for a ransom? I sure hoped not, because all I had in my pocket was twenty Belgian Francs (less than a Canadian dollar)!

Then, suddenly, that wild ride was over. Rough hands again grabbed me and threw me out into the utter blackness of the night. A male voice rang out: "Find your way back to the headquarters or be eternally lost!" Then, accompanied by the squeal of tires, the vehicle drove off into the night.

Though it was a welcome relief to be away from my captors, I now found myself all alone, out in the middle of nowhere. I was able to rip the blindfold and gag off, but it didn't do much good to be able to see in the pitch blackness of night that surrounded me, without even the tiniest light to guide me to civilization. I had no idea where I was or how far I was from town. I had no idea where the camp was. Hey, I didn't even know for sure if I was still in Belgium!

I was reminded of a text: "Tie him hand and foot, and throw him outside, into the darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth. For many are invited, but few are chosen." (Matt 22:13-14 NIV). As I ground my teeth in frustration, it seemed to me that I had NOT been one of the few chosen . . .

Not knowing what else to do, I started to pray. Fervently. Then I began to wander randomly. It didn't take me long, however, to realize I was going in circles, and I decided the best course of action would be to start walking in a straight direction until I found help.

I had walked for at least ten minutes before I saw it: Light in the distance! I started to run towards that light, and I soon found myself on an isolated farm. I had no idea what time it was, but I began banging at the door. Maybe someone would hear me and come to my rescue!

"Who's there?" Called out a voice from behind the door. Then it opened to reveal the kindest, most welcome sight I will ever see: A face!

I explained my dilemma, and this charming person give me exact directions for getting back to town and eventually back to camp. I thanked him profusely and then ran off in the direction he had indicated. After all, I had no way of knowing if my kidnappers would change their minds and come back for me!

It didn't take me too long at that fast pace to reach town, and just the sight of the now-quiet buildings brought me a measure of solace. I now had my bearings, and I was soon back at camp. The youth leaders were waiting for me, and by the looks on their faces, it was apparently they knew something about my kidnapping. "40 minutes?" They cried in surprise. "We were certain it would take you at least 2 to 3 hours to get back here!"

I couldn't believe it. Why would my own youth leaders do such a thing? Was this all part of some elaborate joke?

"You are sixteen now," they explained, "and we have decided to give you a totem name. You see Henry over there? His totem name is Impala. He's as fast as a gazelle. And Helen? Her name is Bee. She's always busy doing something. And now you will receive your own totem name! Aren't you excited?"

My mouth was gapping, but no words formed. All I could think was, "And you woke me up for THIS?"

But they weren't finished questioning me: "How did you get back so fast?"

I shrugged. "I saw a light in the distance. It was a farmhouse, and the farmer gave me directions. Then I ran all the way here."

"But we made sure there would be no houses where we dumped you! How could we have missed this one!"

That's when I remembered that we are called to be "the light of the world" (Matt 5:14 NIV), and because of this, "A city on a hill cannot be hidden." (Matt 5:14 NIV). We, as Christians, are the ones who indicate the way to Heaven! "Now we know that if the earthly tent we live in is destroyed, we have a building from God, an eternal house in heaven , not built by human hands." (2 Cor 5:1 NIV)

I can't help but get excited thinking about that day when I will get to Heaven. I will meet, face to face, the One who lives in me and directs me in His will. Doesn't the thought fill you with adrenaline, too? Yahoo! Heaven awaits us! May we always focus on this exhilarating reality!

And no gagging or blindfolding needed to get there!

Rob Chaffart

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