"Thou didst in our darkest hour
Rend the clouds and show thy light."
--St. Thomas Aquinas
We moved back to South Carolina in December. And what sold me on the house we bought was the light. The living room and my soon-to-be-study were both on the front of the house. Both rooms were flooded with morning light. There’s something powerful and healing and hopeful, too I think—to get up in the morning and see the sunlight flooding the front rooms of the house. To throw open the shutters and, literally let the sunshine in. That morning light is full of promise. There stretches before me a brand new day that, as Buechner says, is to be opened like a present.
But too often I ignore that light or miss it altogether. I’m concentrating on what the TV has said about Obama or Romney or Gingrich pulling out or all those BB guns aimed at the President. Why he dares to mention the death of Osama bin Laden on the anniversary of his death. But it doesn’t matter what the President says or does—the BB guns are out and aimed toward him. I unfold the paper and read the headlines and turn to our one editorial page. More bad news. It sells papers and keeps people watching TV.
All this is diversion. I mutter about the distractions of the politicians and the pundits—but I’m as guilty as they. There is a whole lot that turns us away from the light—flooding our day with anger, fear and often hopelessness.
Why do many of us opt for these diversions when we have been given a present of this wonderful light? I do not know. The Bible talks a lot about light. Light is a powerful metaphor in the Bible. Genesis tells us that God made the light as well as the darkness. Another writer has called this light good. Christ called himself the light of the world. In Pilgrim’s Progress Pilgrim wondered how he can keep going with the heavy burden on his back. And Evangelist told him, “Do you see yonder shining light?” Pilgrim replied, “I think I do.” Then Evangelist said, “Keep that light in thine eye, and go directly thereto, so shalt thou see the gate...”
That light is here for all of us. The challenge is to let the beams flood us and everything we touch. I’m going to try to not take for granted that light that comes, like manna, fresh every morning. Annie Dillard wrote: “I cannot cause light; the most I can do is try to put myself in the path of it’s beam.” Not a bad way to live a life.