Thoroughly Alive

We must hunger after the beautiful and the good...


Illumine my Darkness

The day out my window is clear and bright. The wind rushes, mad-eyed, desperate, to catch the fairy child whose touch is coaxing green from the browned old trees with their withered arms. I sit here in my chair, with daffodils on the window sill, with blue sky flooding my eyes, and I am silent. I watch, I breathe, I pray. My Bible is open on my lap, Psalms staring up at me, their pages creased from many years of mornings just like this. I cannot count the number of times I have sat in this chair, hoping for some good, praying for an answer to a miracle with only the sky out my window for comfort. Today, I wait again. You see, I got some news this week that greatly discouraged me. We all have prayers we carry around, jingling in our pockets, always hoping for a "yes" to finally fall from the sky and free us from the long, shuffling walk of waiting. When the answer is "no," or seems to be, it's a dreadful thing. And I mean that literally; the "no" to my prayer this week filled me with a sense of doom as to my future, a confusion that sapped the energy from my bones and made me want to retreat into the darkest corner of my closet. And maybe not come out for awhile.

For two days, I teetered between a mad resolve to answer my loss with new grit-teethed trust, a new dream, a new faith, or on the other hand, an absolute, bleary-eyed bewilderment as to how on earth to take another step forward. In darkness, the thing I want most to do is just give up. Sink into the shadows around me and no longer strive toward hope, or light. But there is a black-and-white, iron-tongued presence in me that forces me, even at the moment of greatest darkness, to decide what I think about God.

The thing is, God is either the good and beautiful one I have always hoped him to be, either he creates light in my darkness and life in my void, is tender, kind, and with me in ways I cannot comprehend, or... he's not. That's always the crux of my struggle. There's no in between. If I came to the point where I believed, truly, that God did not care, I don't know what else I'd want to do but expire on the spot. I have to believe he loves me because there is no other option.

So I came to my room today, opened to those Psalms because I needed some grace by which to hold to my trust in him. I don't understand why this closed door came, I don't know why I must struggle with health, I don't know why the beloved ones around me must walk long years in hard times. Who knows what battles rage in the heavens. Who knows what darkness resists our persistent faith in God. All I knew today, was that I must find the way to walk on in a blind, but sure faith. So I opened to my good old Psalms and found this:

God sent from on high, He drew me out of many waters He delivered me from my strong enemy, from those who hated me... The Lord was my stay. He brought me forth also into a broad place; He rescued me, because he delighted in me. The Lord saves an afflicted people... You light my lamp; The Lord my God illumines my darkness... For who is a rock, except our God?

Who indeed. This is the truth that is the breath in my lungs today. This is the hope by which I will endure every weary minute, and by which I will rebuild my dreams. This is the life that will seep into the quiet minutes of these long, windy mornings, when I wonder if I am alone, to whisper, whisper, God with us, Immanuel. So the silence in which this blue, spring minute finds me, is one of rest. Spring leaps from branch to sky outside, and even into my heart, because God, beloved God, illumines my darkness and holds me by the hand.

May you be blessed this lovely day.