Light

I love the light of winter where I live. The stars on a cold night glow with extra brilliance in the clear, dark sky.

After several cloudy days, the weather began to change in late afternoon. I went for a walk around the neighborhood at sunset. The departing light sent rays of beautiful yellow and gold onto a sky of blush pink with a hint of the blue that had been missing all day. Such beauty after a dull, gray day.

The next morning I woke in the dark but, by the time I looked out the window, the light was just beginning. The dark is no longer dark, even though I can’t see sunlight. There is a brightness at the horizon, moving into the darkness, creating colors I can’t describe. I hold my breath in awe.   Only a fleeting moment and they are gone as the light of day begins.

The darkness of night or the drabness of gray days seems to attune my eyes and my heart to receive the gifts of light on a clear or clearing day. I wonder if we need to be aware of darkness in our lives or in our world in order to notice the light and be moved by it.

Queries:

Where have you experienced light shining out of darkness?

What brings you awe?

Prayer:

Looking back over the past 24 hours or week or year, see where you have experienced the light shining. Give thanks for those gifts.

For further reflection:

“Praise the Lord! … Praise him, sun and moon; praise him all you shining stars!” (See Psalm 148.)

“In the beginning . . . the earth was a formless void and darkness covered the face of the deep….And God said, ‘Let there be light’ . . . (See Genesis 1: 1-4).

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Seeing is believing?

Sitting at the computer, facing out the window, I suddenly startle.  I realize there is a bluebird, with its strikingly vivid blue color, on the tree just outside the window.  Only now have I seen what has been there for a while.  I had been looking that way.  How did I miss it?  How could I see and not see?

While doing walking meditation a friend heard an owl.  I love birds, and love hearing owls.  I was doing the same walking meditation, but I didn’t hear the call.  If I didn’t hear it, does that mean it didn’t happen?

Wild ginger is one of my favorite wildflowers.  It has a nice green leaf that can be seen year-round along many of the paths I walk.  It looks the same in the spring as in other seasons.  I know now, though, that at a certain time in the spring there is more than meets the eye.  Beginning in late March or early April, when I see wild ginger leaves I stop and scratch gently around in the dead leaves nearby, following the stem until it goes into the ground.  With leaves the right age, and at the right time, my efforts are rewarded by finding its one-inch jug-like bloom.  They’re usually not that beautiful, but for me finding the flower is a special treasure because it was hidden and I might have missed it.

How often is our faith, maybe especially our believing, limited by our not seeing or hearing or searching? It took me a long time to be aware of God’s presence and action in my own life because I wasn’t open to interpreting those experiences in that way.  I was internally blocked from their gifts.  Revelations, epiphanies, and theophanies are there in our lives, waiting for recognition and a response.

Listening to the yearning of one’s heart, beginning to wonder and to ask questions instead of staying with the assumed answers, trying new spiritual practices, or simply desiring to see may let you hear God’s voice or see the gift God is offering.  May we have eyes to see and ears to hear.

Queries:

What have you seen or heard?

What might you be missing?  Especially related to faith, what would you have to let go or take on in order to see?

Prayer:

Take a walk or sit by a window looking out at natural beauty.  Read a gospel story (in Matthew, Mark, or Luke) ready to ask it questions and let it question you.

For further reflection:

“He looked and the bush was blazing, yet it was not consumed.” (See Exodus 3: 1-6).

“Let anyone with ears to hear listen.” (See Mark 4: 1-9).