Hello Darkness, My Old Friend
Today I'm continuing the brief exploration of light and darkness that I started last week. Hope this speaks to you.
The first line of Simon and Garfunkle's classic song, "The Sound of Silence" (which was recently redone by one of my favorite bands: Disturbed) goes like this:
Hello Darkness, my old friend... I've come to talk to you again.I've always liked that first line. I've never been afraid of my darkness. It's an essential part of who I am. Sometimes (and I almost hesitate to say this) it's a welcome respite from the light.
As I was pondering today's Devo, I realized something that I'm sure most of us already know: It's so much easier for most of us to think and talk about light and lightness than it is to dwell on darkness.
But there are two things I want to point out about darkness that most of us typically gloss over when we're dealing with it in our lives...
To begin with, there's no such thing as total darkness. What looks to the human eye like pitch, black darkness is actually filled with billions of neutrinos, which are light.
This is wonderful news because it's as if God wanted us to know that no matter how dark we think things might be, there's always light. The darkness cannot overcome it.
Secondly (and this is important), it's when we are in darkness that we are forced to rely on more than just what we can perceive by sight.
We have to be more intentional about what we hear, and sense through other means. We have to pay closer attention and be more open to what messages we might be receiving.
This needs to be said... None of us was meant to live trapped in our own darkness. We need light to not only survive but to thrive and grow.
But I also have come to believe that darkness serves a vital purpose to our growth and maturity, and flourishing. When we constantly avoid it or seek to dispel it without understanding it, we do ourselves a disservice.
The Jesuit mystic and teacher Anthony de Mello puts it like this:
The trouble with people is that they're busy fixing things they don't even understand... It never strikes us that things don't need to be fixed... They need to be understood. If you understood them, they'd change.If you are struggling through a season in your life right now where everything seems dark and oppressive, take heart. There is light there in the midst of it. And there are things that you need to learn and know as you strain to see.
Namely, that you are not alone in this. And the One who spoke light into the darkness is also the One who is with you. You can rest, surrender and wait patiently for the light to shine upon you. It will come.
May the grace and peace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you now and always. Amen.