As the daylight draws more rapidly to a close in the weeks ahead, it is hard not to feel as though the world itself is losing the battle for light.
I have found that, if I am not careful, I can begin to grow quite comfortable in the darkness. After all, even in darkness we find comfort, but here it is very often the ego that comforts us. In the darkness, our ego minimizes our spiritual wants and rationalizes our spiritual needs to the point that we may begin to doubt that we need God at all. We grow complacent, convincing ourselves that our bad habits– ranging anywhere from the socially shameful habits of alcohol or drug abuse to the socially acceptable habits of material self-indulgence–aren’t hurting anyone (or at least only me).
And we forget that we were born into the light.
The light is not welcome now. When light begins to dawn, we turn away, digging ourselves deeper into our own little corner of the world, where we are in control, even if it’s only in the shadows. Our darkness has become our blanket of comfort and protection. Our habits serve us just fine.
We don’t feel suffering at all, until our habits get old and stop serving us the way they once did. Then the struggle begins anew, as we try to find ever more “things” to appease our wants and desires—more drugs, more financial security, more “friends” so that we never have to be alone (with ourselves).
In that struggle, somewhere deep within, we remember that we are made for the light. We find ourselves filled with longing for it. We know suffering once more, because we see we can only be in control in the darkness—we cannot control the light. We may become fearful that the hole we have dug for ourselves this time is too deep, too dark, too far from the light to ever feel its warmth again.
Only then do we realize the gift that darkness brings…an opportunity to welcome the Light once more.
1. Prayer taken from Little Pieces of Light…Darkness and Personal Growth, by Joyce Rupp.