Tuesday, October 6, 2020

Seeing in the darkness

A night light shines in the darkness of the hallway at my house. It’s not to help me to see in the dark. It’s there to remind me that I already can. This night light is in the shape of a wardrobe, and pictures young Lucy standing there at the door into the snows of Narnia. The light shines out from the stars overhead and from the lamppost there in the center. When I see that night light, I am reminded of how those stories helped lead me out of my own time of deep, deep darkness. It glows with familiarity for me. But it burns with mystery too. After all, I know where Lucy is going—to Mr. Tumnus’s house, to the Stone Table, on to Cair Paravel, and then to the truer, greater Narnia. But, at this point in the story, she doesn’t know all of that. At this moment, frozen in that scene, she knows nothing of witches or lions or fauns. There’s just a lamppost and a winter sky. There’s just a light shining in the darkness. And when I started out on my own trek through the dark woods, I could not see where I was going either, and could not have named precisely what was beckoning me onward. The same may well be true for you. And maybe that’s why you are afraid.

Indeed, much of what we fear is not so much because we do not think that we can endure what scares us. Most of us have seen people who have done just that. Much of our fear is rooted in mystery, that we do not know what is around the corner from us. We cannot see how everything is going to turn out for us. Sitting around a fireplace with some friends one night, one of them posed the conversation-starter: “If you could have one thing—past, present, or future—that you could read right now what would it be?” I think he answered his own question that he would want to read whatever Jesus wrote with his fingers in the sand at the attempted stoning of the woman caught in adultery, words that caused the would-be executioners to drop their stones and walk away.

Without even thinking, I said, “My obituary.” .... (more)

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