It had been a long, dispiriting day. Week. Month.
That night the air in my bedroom was close and still — and I suddenly felt claustrophobic. I grabbed my Book of Common Prayer and went out onto the patio even though there’s no furniture out there. I had to get out of the house.
The window from the bathroom shone a square patch of light on the bare concrete and I settled in it, content to read my Evening Prayer in its feeble light.
I felt like weeping, though, instead of praying.
For weeks I had been journeying through old scars and wounds and hurts. It was the hurt of healing — blessed and needed, but hard. Terribly hard.
In the past, I had papered over my shame and bitterness and fear. I had felt ashamed of how I’d reacted to abuse. I had shied away from facing my pain.
Now, as a mature adult, I was learning compassion for my younger self. I was learning to feel righteous anger towards the people responsible. I was learning to not be afraid any more.
And I was very, very tired. I was grieved.
I opened my little black book of prayers and tipped the pages towards the dim light, grateful that I’d mostly memorized the words:
Oh gracious light, pure brightness of the everliving Father in heaven, Oh Jesus Christ, holy and blessed!…You are worthy at all times to be praised by happy voices, Oh Son of God, oh Giver of Light, and to be glorified through all the worlds.
The truth was, I was not happy. I was praising God, but my voice was worn. I didn’t blame myself — I knew God stood with me in grief. I knew he held my hand in my brokenness and sadness.
“You are worthy, Lord,” I said.
I had been feeling the darkness of this world closely for the last few days; I praised the Lord anyway.
I could see stars: Orion’s legs, the two long horns of Taurus nestled deeply in the night sky. The breeze came lightly over the wall of the patio and danced over my neck.
All of a sudden, I was grateful, so incredibly grateful, for the ability to speak blessings into the world in the middle of the dark.
I could speak Light into my life, into my heart, with each blessed word. The light was right there for me to participate in. I could join the grand, illuminated dance of the ages, bowing in gorgeous harmony with the angels and stars and all created things.
It wasn’t that the darkness I felt wasn’t there. But it was glorious to affirm that it didn’t have the final say.
I could celebrate Someone who has never broken my heart. Who knit me back together when I was in pieces. Who has pierced my darkness, over and over, with gentle, compassionate light.
Suddenly, I was happy. I was jubilant.
My sadness and grief outlined the light in my heart with silver. It was all threaded together: the joy, the healing, the grief, the old pain, the constancy of God, the beauty of worship in the darkness.
The next part of the evening devotional went on:
For the same God who said, “Out of darkness let light shine” has caused his light to shine within us, to give the light of revelation — the revelation of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.
I have had enough of being wrapped in darkness, in being afraid and alone. I have had enough of feeling helpless against the darkness.
Praise God for the sweet victory of praise. Praise God for the revelation of His glory. Praise God for the incredible power of His light shining within us.
Praise God for the chance to be caught up in His light.Leave a Comment