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Darkness and Light

By Tania Chomiak-Salvi

“I’m so glad we installed those shades.” I had just finished some meditative prayer that had involved closed eyes and deep breaths. As I opened my eyes and returned, it had grown dark outside.

Instead of the usual trees, grass, birds and squirrels, I saw only inky black darkness in the window. The reflected light from my room was harsh, and the darkness repelled me. I shivered and lowered the shades with relief. Now it was bright and cheery and warm, with lamps glowing inside our house.

Like the rest of humanity, my family and I are indoors, in a protective stance. I seek a feeling of coziness for our home. I thought I had achieved it the moment the shades I lowered blocked out the night.

But then I remembered: there was a beautiful night out there. The wind was picking up and some clouds were sliding by. It’s not yet the season for crickets, but something must have been rustling out there. All of the birds and squirrels that I had watched through the window earlier in the day were out there, perfectly at ease. If I just turned off my inside lights, I could open the shades and be comfortable. I could experience the dark with all of its challenges and all of its richness.

It was the clash of the two that had made me uncomfortable. When I was using my lamps, they were fruitlessly fighting against the evening. I can just accept the evening, explore it. I know that morning will come—at 6:59am, to be precise.

I know that Easter will come. The Resurrection happened. I can trust that we will emerge into the light. In the meantime, I can explore the darkness in safety.

(With thanks to my spiritual director at Holy Trinity, who helped me understand this event.)


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