Finding Grace and Peace In The Darkness
Over the years, I've written a lot here about light and darkness---focusing most often on the way the light of Christ overcomes the darkness of evil in this world.
Or I've written about how that same light shines within each of us, and how sharing that light can change the world around us if we have the courage to let it shine.
The imagery of light shining in the darkness is powerful and indelible. The light brings things into sharper focus and allows us to see the world more clearly. The light illuminates the shadowy spaces where injustice often hides.
The light also shows us the way forward when the fog of uncertainty would hide the path from our eyes--something that we all need so badly right now.
But I got to thinking about something today... what if darkness also has a place in the kingdom of God?
And by "darkness" I'm not referring to evil as if it has to be in a yin and yang kind of relationship with the light of "goodness." There may be a bit of truth in that last bit, come to think of it, but it's not my focus at the moment.
This quote from Anne Lamott's newest book is what started my musings, so let me share it with you:
Darkness can be so soothing when you know it won’t last forever; you can slip into shadow as a refuge, especially when the light has been pitiless. Spiritual wisdom has it that light is the truth, but there are many kinds of beauty in the darkness, like the silver-golden glitter in the internal dark when we close our eyes, and at twilight, and at dawn.
Oh, how I love that! It paints a different kind of portrait for the role that darkness plays in our own renewal, and even in the renewal of the world around us. It speaks of rest and respite, refuge and renewal.
It also casts a different kind of vision for the darkest hours, speaking of the beauty that exists within them---a beauty that shifts and changes with the "silver-golden glitter" behind closed eyes, at twilight, and dawn.
Sleep pathologists tell us that the presence of light in our rooms at night keeps our bodies from resting fully. Even the smallest pinprick of light from a cable box can upset the restorative work of the darkness while we sleep.
And think about this... The best way to see the true beauty of the star-soaked night sky is in the pitch-black darkness of the wilderness, far from the glowing lights of the city.
Should I go on? I could talk about how closing your eyes and shutting out the light helps you heighten your other senses. You hear better, smell more acutely, and feel the slightest tremble of the person next to you... or the beating of your own heart.
I could add that it is in the darkness that we can often pray more fervently, focus on contemplation, meditate more fully as we seek mindfulness, peace, and communion with the Divine.
Pretty dang cool, am I right?
May you come to see the purpose of darkness in the kingdom of God, and in your own life. May you let yourself be renewed in the night, restored to strength, and ready to face the challenges of this world, rested and ready to do holy work.
And may the grace and peace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you now and always. Amen.