It is so easy to slip into the darkness.
Hardly ever do we mean for it to happen. Who ever says to themselves, "I think I will go into that black hole of depression today"? Or "The dark night of the soul sounds good - maybe I'll have myself a good crisis of faith..."?
Even with the darkness of sin (i.e. thinking or acting in ways that move us away from God), seldom is it our conscious intent to reject all that is good and holy.
More often, something is hurting inside and we find ourselves wanting to make it feel better. And we are good enough at hiding things from ourselves that we may not even have conscious awareness of what it is that is pushing us to seek relief.
Furthermore, the remedies that most often occur to us first are the ones that provide the more immediate and certain release to the inner tensions of our pain and suffering. Raging, drinking, taking drugs or sexual acting out all tantalize us with promises of instant relief. If we manage to resist this first wave, the second wave typically includes the mind-numbing habits, such as playing video games, surfing the Internet or watching TV for hours on end.
Prayer and meditation do not promise us rapid relief. Neither do acts of kindness, sacrifice or forgiveness of those who have hurt us. Going to church or 12 step meetings...they're all right, I suppose, but...
It's just that the activities that may be most likely to lead us further into darkness are the things that seem the most immediately appealing. When I feel bad now, I don't want to wait around for weeks or months or years for a process that possibly - but not certainly - could make me a better person. I need relief now...
Thus, easily do we slip into the darkness and just as easily do we stay there. We long to escape our state of "blindness" but the darkness is familiar. And, seemingly, a lot simpler. We grow tired of fighting it.
Tonight, I begin a Week of Light, inviting you to join me. (Light is the last of the 7 holy pauses in this blog series.) As always, I begin with some fear and trepidation, not knowing what will be given to me to post here for you for 6 more days. I'm as blind as the next person and do not see the path ahead of me.
But I know that my heart longs for the Light and I believe that there is a path. Seeming to confirm this, I heard these words earlier today while listening to Morning Prayer:
I will lead the blind on a way they do not know;
by paths they do not know I will guide them.
I will turn darkness into light before them,
and make crooked ways straight.
These are my promises:
I made them, I will not forsake them.(Isaiah 42:16)
Join me in this Week of Light. We do better together than alone. Though we fumble in the darkness and our efforts seem small, let us gather our courage and take up the journey anew...
(Comments and contributions to this Week of Light are welcome and may be e-mailed to me at: firstname.lastname@example.org. Many blessings!)