A Reflection on Dark and Light

Sunday marked the beginning of our Lenten preaching series in the midst of . . .dark and light.  Although I am excited about the series, I have also found it to be a challenge personally. I like to think of myself as a person who is open to, and willing to, embrace all of my brothers and sisters. I try very hard, even though I know I don’t always succeed, to be as non-judgmental as possible. But I’m finding, as we research and prepare for this series, that my language is not always as thoughtful as I had hoped.

I have learned the language of dark and light. I use darkness to identify times in my life that are not as good, and I use light to define better times to come. The words dark and light have been used in this way for so long, I use it without thinking. I found myself in a conversation recently where someone was in a painful situation, and it was being identified by darkness, by both the individual and by friends. Yes, someone will remind us, “there is light at the end of the tunnel.” And there are times when we need that reminder. But there are also times when we need the protection of the dark to focus on ourselves, or what we need to be addressing in our own lives.  Darkness is very intimate. It gives us the possibility to focus on ourselves, to not be distracted by the many objects or opportunities we see in the light. Or is that one of our fears of the dark? If we can see everything else, we can forget about what we need to be attentive to personally in the dark.

How might we use the language of dark and light in more thoughtful ways? Every time we give dark a negative connotation, we are adding to the problem of racial inequality. If we only refer to dark as bad, we infer that someone who has dark skin is bad. We may not mean to be doing that with our words, but I guarantee you, we are. Think about how the words dark and light are used in your own language. Would someone listening to your conversations, especially when you are having a difficult time in your life, be subjected to the words dark and light, or synonyms of the two words? 

Yesterday afternoon I watched our dog Kirby use dark and light in her life. When the sun was beaming through the front window, she found the absolute perfect place to lay on the couch, so she could stretch her body out and soak up the sun. Then when night came, she gladly entered her kennel, went to the back corner and curled herself into a ball. Kirby found no pain, evil or sadness in either the couch or the kennel. She found the place best for herself in that moment. She actually sought out the place that would provide her the most comfort. 

So why is it that we, as humans, want to resist the space that might provide us the most comfort, even if it is the dark? Why do we always try so hard to get to that light at the end of the tunnel? Maybe if we didn’t think of light as good and dark as bad, we might be more open to our brothers and sisters who have a skin color different than our own.

 

~ Eldonna Hazen

 

Posted on February 24, 2015 at 10:08 am in Featured Content.

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