The Light Still Shines
I woke up yesterday morning at 3:30 AM and couldn't go back to sleep.
I tried everything I could think of to reclaim it. I would start to drift off, but instead of falling back into slumber, my mind would start racing, and I found myself tossing and turning instead.
Maybe it was the troubling and sad dreams that I'd had---lingering images and feelings that didn't fade away easily when my eyes fluttered open and I realized what they were.
It could have also been the feeling of foreboding that I couldn't shake because of all of the news of the previous day---news of the seemingly never-ending saga of this tumultuous election, and the growing divisions between so many of us because of it.
There's so much that's still wrong in this world---despite all of the things that are feeling more right than they were before.
As I lay there in the dark, I let the sadness in for a moment just enough to let myself feel it, but (hopefully) not enough to let myself be consumed by it.
I'm slowly learning to trust a hard but generative truth about myself: Sadness can exist within me without defining me. Darkness can find its way into my spirit, but it can't take over every corner.
This is an important thing to know because there is always a temptation to turn on yourself when you feel these feelings. It's in those moments that the voice of the Accuser within can begin whispering destructive and negative things in your ear, and you find yourself believing them.
I remember a line from a Lewis Capaldi song that stuck with me so much that I wrote it down:
It kills me how your mind can make you feel so worthless.
There's more to us than our negative thoughts, our worries, fears, and even our sadness. It's a distinction that we need to make if we are going to move beyond all of it to something else.
You can be sad. You might even be anxious or depressed. But that doesn't define you. You are more than your sadness... your anxiety... your depression. You are so much more.
So today I am going to hold on to something that has been running through my head louder than those destructive whispers---a verse from the preamble to the Gospel of John.
The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.
I am going to hold on to those words tightly today. I trust the truth of them, and I want to cling to that truth with all of the strength that I have. The light still shines.
And for me that light---the light of the universal and eternal Christ--has always been shining, chasing the darkness away, dispelling it to where it came from, making my soul brighter, and enabling me to see myself more clearly as I truly am.
May you discover the truth of those words today. May you adopt them as a prayer, a mantra if you will. Repeat them today as often as you need to...
The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it...
The light shines in the darkness...
The light shines...
May the grace and peace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you now and always. Amen.
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