Letting the Darkness In

We’ve got big windows in our apartment which let in lots of light, and we’ve been enjoying the spring sunlight, but I’m thinking a bit about darkness. This is because I just read Barbara Brown Taylor’s book, Learning to Walk in the Dark. In it, she gives up on “full solar spirituality,” and examiners her lunar faith, which waxes and wanes over time.

After so many years of trying to cobble together a way of thinking about God that makes sense so that I can safely settle down with it, it all turns to nada.  There is no permanently safe place to settle. I will always be at sea, steering by stars. Yet as dark as this sounds, it provides great relief, because it now sounds truer than anything that came before.

I think many of us know at some level that darkness and light are natural parts of life and faith, , that “dark and light, faith and doubt, divine absence and presence, do not exist at opposite poles. . . . As different as they are, they come from and return to the same source.”

Although she acknowledges that some have darkness in them they have to fight, it’s also a reminder that we do not have to fight off everything that is dark and painful and difficult. That’s exhausting. The darkness has things to teach us, and anyway we’re going to be in it sometimes whether we like it or not.

This is, in some sense, an invitation to let go and let in the difficult emotions, the doubts and fears. Leave the lights off. Sometimes God is in the dark cloud, and in the dark you can be transformed and changed.

 

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