Advent: season of waiting, expecting, preparing. One morning recently, I walked toward my front door and stopped, stilled with the beauty of light and shadow which shimmered in early morning sun streaming through our leaded glass door. As I received these images with my camera, I considered how much our Advent and Christmas pondering is like this – the shining of Light into our lament and darkness, beyond our closed doors, past our barriers of grief or bewilderment, settling into the curve of yearning in our hearts to create that which can strike us still with its mystery.
“The light would never be so acceptable, were it not for that usual intercourse of darkness. . .God will have them that shall walk in light to feel now and then what it is to sit in the shadow of death. A grieved spirit therefore is no argument of a faithless mind. ~Richard Hooker
” I’ve remembered this truth again and again as my ups decline into downs, my highs into lows. This reminder only confirms what I know but still need to learn. Light comes not in spite of the darkness, but to balance and penetrate it.” ~Luci Shaw
My reply isn’t so much about spiritual or soulful light but the metaphor I can apply it to comes from my experience of extensive and intense light as a resident of central Texas. We have a LOT of sunshine here, with long days and cloudless skies. I was surprised to realize one day that the sunshine was actually oppressive! Who’d think that? But it had been so long since we’d had rain and clouds that I was feeling exhausted. And I think that’s true of all light, perhaps. We need cloudy days and dark nights to make the light more bearable and maybe it’s that way with spiritual and soulful light, too. Maybe our physical beings can’t handle the intensity of unbroken soul/spirit light. We need the relief of darkness of some sort to be able to continue to bear the Light when we again see it. So Light may dispel the Darkness but maybe it’s the reverse in some ways, too. Of course, unrelieved darkness is equally oppressive, too. Anyway, I have to think about this some more.
Thank you for your comments and thoughtful reading, Sam.