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Posts Tagged ‘darkness’

Father, I know the calling you have given me- a calling to tell Your story. To tell anyone who will listen, about Your story of redemption, and love and forgiveness and beauty and truth and light. I see that so clearly in this moment. And believe it with all my heart.

But the darkness is everywhere. And it is suffocating. And there are times when I believe it’s lies.

Please set me free, Father. Quiet me so I can hear Your whisper. Please Lord, rescue me from myself. I want to be a vessel of Truth. You have called me to be. How can I be so blind sometimes?

I am beginning to recognize Your voice, Papa. Thank you for that. Like a newborn is drawn to his mother’s voice before he is able to clearly see her face, you have been drawing me to Your voice, Your word, Your breath. I am longing for You, Father.

And thank you for dealing with me. For not allowing me to be at peace until I surrender to Your Truth. Forgive my arrogance, my ungraciousness, my bitterness.

Use me, Father. I want to be used.

“What came into existence was Life, and the Life was Light to live by. The Life-Light blazed out of the darkness; the darkness couldn’t put it out.” -John 1:4-5

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I hear my alarm on the nightstand beside me and quickly push snooze. I groggily check to see what time it is. Five a.m. And still dark outside. I lie in bed and debate. I could snuggle into the soft sheets and warm blankets of this bed, cuddled up to my sleeping husband for the next two and a half hours, and start the long day ahead of me with a solid five hours of sleep…

Or I could drag my tired body out of bed and spend my last morning on the island watching the sunrise.

My exhaustion tells me to stay.

But my hunger for the experience that awaits me, for the memories I will take home with me, speaks louder.

I roll out of bed.

I slip on my black stretch pants, pull a blue shirt over my head and slide my feet into a pair of  flip-flops. I grab my phone and car keys off the nightstand and tip-toe out the bedroom door.

The house contains an unfamiliar quiet.

I make my way down the tiled staircase, careful to keep my flip-flops from flip-flopping too loudly, unlock the side door and step out onto a wooden landing. I take my first breath of the cool, salty air and descend a second set of stairs. I glance at my surroundings. Every color is muted, a landscape made up of varying shades of gray. Houses that have been painted every color of the rainbow, bushes and palm trees usually a deep shade of green, flowers in their array of pinks and reds and purples: all muted. All gray.

I hop into my hubby’s xterra.

I drive three miles, passing a cluster of massive hotels, dozens of houses on stilts, one convenience store and acres and acres of sand, sidewalk and palm trees. I reach a giant sign. This sign marks the end of the developed stretch of the island and the beginning of paradise: the seven miles of uninterrupted sand and ocean that I found on my long run five days before.

One point four miles later I pull into a small parking lot, park the xterra facing east, and turn off the engine.

I roll down the windows. Immediately, my ears are filled with the sound of the ocean, the endless, soothing rhythm of the waves as they crash onto the sand. I inhale deeply. Close my eyes. Inhale again. Open my eyes and drink in my surroundings. Could there be a more magical place on earth? There is fifty feet of sand beside me, then ocean for as far as the eye can see. The gray water follows itself all the way to the horizon. For a while I get lost in its infiniteness. The rolling water is hypnotic and I find myself relaxing into this experience.

Eventually I turn my attention back to the scene that is unfolding in front of me. I sit facing east and watch as slowly, steadily, the coming light begins to touch the sky. The low-lying clouds hide the sun as it peeks out of the horizon.  I watch them evolve from their muted gray to a light pink, then to a deeper, reddish pink. The sky around them turns almost blue.

The landscape in my rearview mirror is still gray. The light has not yet reached the west.

The constantly changing colors filling the eastern sky keep me fascinated. Everything about this place, this moment, feels right. Contentedness runs through my veins.

An hour passes quickly.

Around six-thirty the sun’s rays burst through the low-lying cloud cover. The sight is glorious. They light up the entire sky, turn the water into a sea of blue diamonds, turn the sand into a radiant white. They color the eastern sky a deep gold, the western sky a deep blue.

And they leave me with three thoughts that I have taken home with me, that I am still thinking of today.

1) I serve a magnificent God. Who chose a grand creation. And when I take the time to stop and notice, His brilliant design always leaves me breathless.

2) It has never been more clear to me as it was that morning, as I witnessed the power of the sun’s light, how appropriate it is that we call our God and His Son, the Light. The earth was transformed that morning. Everything the light touched was changed. From a dark and colorless mass emerged a distinct landscape bursting with brilliance and color. What a beautiful metaphor for the shape our hearts and our lives can take when they are touched by the Light.

3) I need to experience a purer form of His creation more often. I want this. My spirit craves this. More often than every once in awhile, I must leave this busy city and get lost in His creation.

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I remember this night, July 17th, 2001- my heart was a mess of emotions, my head, a murkey lake, darkened by sadness and confusion and dread. It was a year filled with change and loss and unknowns. I remember sitting down, so desperate for relief, and hoping that if I could just get the words out of my head and onto a piece of paper, that maybe they would stay on that paper, and leave me the heck alone. And so I wrote my first (and only)  poem (of sorts).

—————

Shadows

As the shadows swallow my tears

The darkness echoes my cry

And I ache

Drowning in a sea of pain

My heart is exhausted

My bones are weary with sorrow

As the shadows swallow my tears

And the darkness echoes my cry

Is this the end?

Is this the beginning?

I am terrified of the answer

Time is a thief

And it is stealing all that I love

All that I love and all that I have known

Leaves fall

And with them my world

Falling, crashing down around me

I am helpless

Unable to stop the falling of the leaves

Where will they land?

Why must they fall?

I am broken and bitter

Tired and terrified

Angry and alone

Every moment is bittersweet

—————

I also remember (on this same night, after writing my poem, having more thoughts still) placing my hands on the keyboard of my computer and typing any word or phrase or sentence that entered my brain. No order. Not a lot of thought. Just writing and writing. Unloading some more of my sorrows onto my tear stained desk, the clackety clack of my fingers on the keyboard, a steady, soothing sound to my achy, tormented soul.

—————

Why

what

I miss them

I miss it

I don’t understand

I hurt

I cry

I weep

Who can stop the hands of time?

When will the pain subside?

Who needs these thoughts?

Will life ever settle down?

I am so tired

Tired of feeling

Tired of grieving

Tired of breathing

Tired of struggling

I am mad

Mad at time

I am unsettled

Who am I?

What is my purpose?

What is my path?

Why must I struggle?

Why must I grieve?

Why must I feel?

What happens next?

I breathe emotion

I am at war with the world

Unsettled

Never satisfied

It’s just a melancholy day

Lord deliver me

Lord deliver me

—————

And when I read these words tonight, having not read them in many years (perhaps even, since the night that I wrote them) all I could think was- Thank you God for Your love and Your grace and Your faithfulness. Thank you God for the ability You have given us to grow and change and be healed. Thank you God that even in our darkest moments, when our hearts hurt so much they feel as though they will break, there is always hope for tomorrow. Thank you God for the peace I am living in today.

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I hear the alarm. It is 5:45 a.m. I push snooze till 6:00 then lie in bed, mostly awake, and stare at the ceiling, debating if it is worth crawling out of my warm bed to put on the fourteen articles of clothing that it will take to keep me warm for my morning run.

As I lay there, I remember being awakened at 3:00 a.m and rolling over to check my phone, realizing then that the sound on my phone (and therefore my alarm) was off. I remember turning the sound on and thinking “I’m glad something woke me up or I would not have heard my alarm at 5:45 and probably would have slept too late to fit in a run before the hubby needed to leave for work.”

I decide then, as I remember my 3:00 a.m wake up call, and for a number of other reasons, that I should get up.

I roll out of bed, gather my mound of clothing, take it to the bathroom and turn on the heater. I put on my layers and wash my face, tie my laces and head upstairs to the kitchen. I eat a quick breakfast and down half a bottle of water. I finish layering, grab my Garmin and my music and slip out the back door and into the cold morning air. I walk to the end of my driveway, feeling the cold seep through the layers of fabric I am wearing, and begin a slow jog, knowing that in ten minutes my entire body will have warmed despite the 24 degree temperature.

I breathe long, slow, deep breaths, practicing the Hamsa mantra that I recently learned about and have been using and appreciating at various moments throughout my day. The cold air burns my throat and my lungs, I look forward to the moment when I have warmed enough to not feel this anymore. I am listening to Kings of Leon.

I run to the end of my street, turn right and begin a long, gradual uphill stretch that gets me good and toasty by the time I reach the end of it. I follow West Longdale to Wauford and take a left. This begins a long, gradual downhill stretch that I relax into, Hamsa-ing my way down, past my brother’s house and around a slight bend in the road.

It is as I am rounding this bend that I feel the first rays of sunshine; the first in (what at least feels like and might actually be) months. The rays warm my face and for a moment I close my eyes. I drink in the warmth and the light and it slowly, soothingly wraps itself around me, overwhelming me. I breathe it in and I am certain I can actually smell the sunlight.

In this moment of warmth and light and sunshine I find myself feeling a strong and somewhat inexplicable sense of…hope. And joy! Joy that after a long, cold, dark winter…spring will always come! And hope because even when the rain seems endless, the cold never-ending, and the darkness overwhelming…we will feel His light again.

And as this hope and this joy fill my heart and my head and my belly, I begin to feel the fog from the past month lifting and the Spirit of peace settling in around me.

My gratitude for this hope and joy and peace is so overwhelming that my eyes begin to fill with tears as my breathe quickens into shallow,  uncontrollable sobs.

I fight the urge to fall on my knees with my hands to the Heavens, realizing that I am still in the middle of my neighborhood, surrounded by houses with windows and neighbors getting into their cars.

Instead, feeling fully and completely aware of and touched by my Father and Creator, I calm my breathing and continue to run. And I marvel, that on a cold winter morning in the middle of February, I met my God on Wauford.

“Let the light of Your face shine upon us, O Lord.” Psalm 4:6

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