Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Left in the Dark

"Maybe you have to know the darkness before you can appreciate the light."
-Madeleine L'Engle, A Ring of Endless Light

It's 2:30 am.  Eldest is awake, which means so am I.
As I try to coax him back to sleep after a bad dream, I am struck at the stillness of the time.  For a moment, I am convinced I am the only one in the world up with their child at this time- a notion I know to be ridiculous, but the feeling too true in that second.
The twilight in his room, thanks to his nightlight, is almost haunting and lonely.
It is dark, and dark kind of scares me.

A couple of weeks ago I was listening to my music on shuffle- which is always a tricky little game. 
On the one hand, it is kind of fun to discover music you had forgotten.
 On the other, it's a little embarrassing to know that some songs are still in my music library-
I'm looking at you Creed purchase of 2007.  Eesh.

Anyway, the song Cosmic Love by Florence and the Machine came on.
I have always loved this song, but it sounded different to me, somehow. 
While I listened this time, I could not help but equate the heartbeat she hears with that of God; the darkness with the unknown within myself, the unknown within the world.
I was particularly taken with these lyrics:

I took the stars from my eyes and then I made a map.
I knew that, somehow, I could find my way back.
Then I heard your heart beating, you were in the darkness too.
So, I stayed in the darkness with you.

I used to believe that the dark things in my life- my postpartum depression, my eating disorder, the very darkness within me- were things to be cut out and abolished from my life. 
 The problem was, though, that did little for me, but take me back to where I started-
a pile of emotions on the floor,  feeling crappy and alone.
Lately, though, it seems to me that cutting is cutting no matter how you slice- physically, emotionally, or spiritually.

Maybe we aren't supposed to cut the darkness out of our life. 
Maybe we are supposed to be well acquainted with it- at peace with it. 
Maybe even friends with it.
Maybe everything I thought about darkness was never really true.
Maybe there is good in the dark.
Maybe there is usefulness for the skeletons lurking around my closet.
Maybe running from what seems scary in the night is counterproductive.
Maybe it is all this dark that God/Jesus/The Universe/whatever you personally call It uses to do some of the most good.
Maybe the heartbeat of God is in the dark.
Maybe the seemingly backwards, upside down ways of Jesus are just that- backwards and upside down.
Maybe we have to know our worst to be our best.
Maybe we have to be blinded to see.
Maybe we have to lose to gain.
Maybe we have to quit cramming light into our life so it feels lighter. 
Maybe we have to close the drapes, put our heads under the covers and just be. 
Maybe we have to show up even when we have no idea where we are supposed to go.
Maybe we have to stop tolerating the darkness and learn to love it.

Eldest finally stills and sleeps.  The darkness awakening him no longer.
As I stumble into my room I am struck by how much darker it is without a light to see.
However, for the first time in a while, it is not all-encompassing fear that settles in when I think of this. 
It is strange, but it seems I am beginning to replace the fear of darkness with an acceptance of it.

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