“What has come into being through him, and without him not one thing came into being. What has come into being in him was life, and the life was the light of all people”
Have you ever looked at the darkness, believing something is there but you can’t see anything? Do you ever follow that feeling in your gut, even though there are no indications that anything is wandering around? I tell myself it’s just a trick of the night. But again, I can’t help myself – curiosity always gets the best of me.
Are you the type of person who requires some kind of proof before you can go back inside, lock the door, and turn on all the lights in your house “just in case?” Or will that inward feeling suffice?
Call it a gut feeling, a hunch, intuition, or a past memory, but something automatically triggers within you that causes you to protect yourself. Neurology offers great data and research that would suggest this is just normal brain behavior. A piece of coded information that has evolved in the human conscience over billions of years.
I do not deny such findings because 1) I am not a neurologist, and 2) I like knowing there is something out there in the dark, even if it’s just something in my head.
So the security light in back yard just randomly lights up. I reckon it could be the wind rustling through the neighbor’s trees. Or perhaps it’s a critter creeping along our shared fence. Heck, I guess it could a thief in the night. I suspect it’s a raccoon, which pretty much covers all of the above.
More often than not, it’s nothing. I say that with assurance because I always look – curiosity always gets the best of me. Peering through our windows, I scan the night’s darkness and the small arc of light slices along the back of our house. And rarely do I find anything not than just the darkness.
neu·ron (noun) 1. a specialized cell transmitting nerve impulses; a nerve cell.
mys·ti·cism (noun) 1. belief that union with or absorption into the Deity or the absolute, or the spiritual apprehension of knowledge inaccessible to the intellect, may be attained through contemplation and self-surrender.
The mystics and more spiritual folks, however, would add another element of possibility. Perhaps what you’re sensing is the Spirit, or ruach, the very breath and energy of God that flows throughout all of creation. It’s an unseen source that can trigger creativity and illumination.
No matter what side makes more sense to you, I think all humans would agree that we have to go into the darkness from time to time. And when you do, we ought not be surprised to see something; including being blinded by some unexpected light.
I know I have been left in the darkness a few times this Lent. In my struggle to live faithfully and to trust fully, I have had to put my curiosity to the side and simply embrace the darkness and welcome the light when it appears.
I’ve had to stop asking “Why?” and simply say, “ Wow!”
An illuminated soul begins to see the truth revealed in many forms. I’ve discovered during my spiritual journey what the ancient mystics confessed so many years ago: there’s more to that feeling in my gut than just neurons firing electric sparks. I mean that energy has to have had a beginning, right?
In explaining the difference between “spirit” and “flesh,” or human understanding and the divine, Jesus said, “ What is flesh is flesh and what is the Spirit is Spirit.” We have to discern between the two. He tells an inquisitive man, “We feel the wind, yet we cannot see it, we do not know where it comes from or where it is going, same is true about the Spirit.”
We can feel it (in our gut or on our skin), we can see it’s effects (wind rustling the leaves and ripples on water) and even know what causes wind to move, but we don’t really know where it first comes from anymore than we can control where it’s going.
If a raccoon wants to waddle through my yard in search of food or water, that raccoon will do it and no security light is going to stop him. The same is true about a burglar. Likewise, if God is going to come to you, because God desires to be with you, then God will come. God breaks through your deepest, darkness places to bring us the light of the world. “The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not overcome it” (John 1:5).
Each time that security light turns on I know the Spirit of God is with me – protecting me, and filling my heart with peace. And as I feel compelled to look out the window to see God out there, I must remember to look a little closer...at the reflection in the glass...and I will see and know God within me.
Prayer: Loving God, shine your divine light upon my deepest, darkest secrets and fears so I might see your great works and begin to truly shine for you and for your world. Amen.