I told you some of how I’ve been feeling since Election Day and those things are still true. I’m sad and confused and hurt and taking on the pain of others so much so that I’ve had to limit my social media use so I can function for my family.
But there’s something else stirring and while it’s not as noticeable yet, it gives me hope that what I’m feeling now is not all there is to feel.
It was a Monday of all days, and I had walked the kids to the bus stop. Fall mornings around here offer a chill, foreshadowing the season to come when we’ll be bundled up like snow adventurers just to walk a few feet to the bus. But the sun rises and warms the day and by afternoon, we’re outside again, with or without jackets to play and soak up as much time on the porch and in the yard as the season allows.
Fall has been fickle this year, giving us summer-like days and winter-like chills, all the while the leaves have taken their sweet time in changing colors, but change they have.
And when I walked back to the house that morning, this is what I saw at the end of our driveway.
The leaves on the tree next door turn sunshine yellow and fall onto our driveway like a carpet. It is my favorite part of autumn, I remember, and the sun glinting through the branches on its way to its peak stopped me where I stood. I felt like I had stumbled into something holy.
I’m not in the van as much these days, but when I do have the chance to put a CD on repeat, it’s Andrew Peterson’s The Burning Edge of Dawn, mostly because of the first song, The Dark Before the Dawn.
Take a listen or look up the lyrics. It helps me identify what I’m feeling and have felt. That dark days will come but dawn will follow. That we will have pain but there will be a balm.
I’m not just speaking of politics here because my life has seen plenty of dark days before last Tuesday, but it all reminds me that light shines brightest in the darkness. The sun almost blinds me first thing in the morning because my eyes have adjusted to the dark of night. It is the same reason the first colors of spring seem so bright after a winter full of brown and white.
I am in no way hoping for dark days ahead. I will not celebrate anything like that. But I know that no matter what the days ahead bring, I have a job to do and that is to bring Light into the world. In our church tradition, we culminate Advent with a candlelight service to symbolize the birth of the Light into a dark world.
We are constantly bearing this Light today and birthing it into the world.
When I watch the news, I am not thrilled by it but I see the potential for the bearers of Light to get to work and continue to work. As bleak as the future might seem, I am hopeful that the Church will do its best work in the days ahead. That we will stand against injustice with a loud voice instead of a whisper. That artists will create their greatest pieces. That beauty and love will be the hallmarks of a people who sometimes appear the opposite.
I do not hope these things as some sort of naive Pollyanna. It is not my nature to be optimistic. But I know that to Be Light in the midst of darkness is to be noticed and that millennia ago we, the Church, were invited to Be Light because the Light had come. In those days the world loved darkness more than Light, and it may be true in our day, too. But Light will always overcome.
Our work has always been the same, but sometimes we forget. At least I do. Or I cast off my responsibility because maybe there’s already enough Light in the world. But our world needs the Light more than ever.
And there are all kinds of light. Some of us will be a blazing fire. Others of us will be like a single candle. But it’s all Light and all bearing Light and it doesn’t matter if you’re a bonfire on a hill or a flashlight in the basement.
It is past time to Be Light in the world, and I say this to myself knowing that it might get darker before it gets lighter, that the light might be dim or faint, but to look for the Light is to make a declaration that all hope is not lost.
How have you seen Light in the darkness? How will you Be Light in this world?