Darkness is my closest friend...
— Psalm 88:18
Last night I enjoyed a delicious cup of mint tea before bed. I bought it just last week and was eager to try the new flavor. I didn’t realize until approximately 11:15pm, after I finished my book and wasn’t the least bit tired, that the tea was caffeinated. (By the way, who makes mint tea caffeinated?)
What followed was torturous: tossing and turning, counting sheep, trying to think positive thoughts as I begged my brain to shut down so I could get some rest. By the wee morning hours I remembered the quote from Barbara Brown Taylor’s book “Learning to Walk in the Dark” that For most of us, the main impediment to getting back to sleep is worrying about getting back to sleep.
Only, there was no back to sleep to get to, I was still yearning for that first drift off.
It reminded me of the sermon series which we called “Faith in the Dark” in January and February. I was blown away by people’s response to our willingness to talk about depression, doubt and even insomnia. It turned out that the dark is hard for a lot of us and we needed to be reminded that God shows up not only in the brightest of our days, but also in the darkest of our nights.
We didn’t know in January that the theme of darkness would last beyond the winter months. We would have never believed the person who told us graduations would be cancelled, school would transition to online learning and we would all have to create offices at home.
I sometimes wonder what I would have said on that last Sunday if I would have known we wouldn’t get to worship together for so long …
It is breathtaking to look back and think about all we have experienced.
But it gives me hope to think that maybe God was planting a seed for us back in January. Maybe God was reminding us that moments that feel unbearable can shape us in hugely significant ways.
As I was lying on my back wide awake last night, wishing that things were different, I thought that this is an appropriate metaphor for life right now: wishing we could change things, but so helpless to do so. But remembering the wisdom of Barbara Brown Taylor’s advice I decided to stop fighting my situation and instead yield to it. God can, indeed, show up in the wee hours of the morning, in the darkest night and in the most desperate of moments.
So let us be present to life as it is. We can still hope that things will change, but let’s not miss God’s presence, even now.