There have been a couple of nights this month that I haven't slept at all. Not for a fitful heart, but for the chance to see something incredible - a light show in the night sky. A few weeks ago, it was a "good chance" to see Aurora Borealis (the Northern Lights) this far south that kept me crawling out of bed all night to try to catch a peek. More recently, it has been the chance for a meteor shower.
There's nothing more incredible than watching light play against darkness. Something about it...I don't know. It just gets to me. (See this other post I wrote about the glory of feeling small.)
This morning, I was thinking about such things when I suddenly realized - life is light. In the beginning, God separated the light from the darkness...and everything else is light. Everything is God playing with light. Everything!
The rainbow, the sign of God's promise given to Noah and created anew for us each rain, is nothing more than the way light reflects through water. It is a prism against a prison, a colorful creation of the light.
The flowers that this spring are blooming around my yard; these are not creatures designed to grow necessarily "up." Flowers (and trees and plants and whatever) grow toward the light. It is the sun that draws them out of the soil. There are even a few hanging around in this old house that I have to turn every now and again because they start to grow toward the window, hungry for the light.
The Aurora Borealis, the meteor shower, even the starry night sky are all the whimsy of light fluttering against darkness. It is the light reflected from the unseeable sun that ignites the night sky.
Human skin, even, is a play on light. It has a slightly translucent property that gives it both its color and its depth, which is why when your art teacher told you "peach" was easily "flesh color," it never looked quite right. It's so difficult, in any reproduction, to reproduce skin's properties of light that give it its fleshly appearance.
And yes, even the shadows are a product of light.
Which gets me thinking about the iniquity of a man's heart. Is our darkness, too, a product of the light?
It must be. For it is by recognizing his own fallen nature that man becomes aware of iniquity at all. And how is he to recognize his fallen self if there is not some righteous light to guide him toward something risen?
You know these people. We all have friends, family, acquaintances, neighbors who cannot see their own sin, and they are perfectly content to live as they do. We look at such people and wonder how they can live like that, but they adamantly insist they don't understand what's so wrong about it. They need a little light to play with their shadows or else they will never see the giant oak that's casting the shade over them.
The only way we live with greater integrity is to see our shadows cast and learn the way the light is playing with them. Because trust me, the Light is playing with them. It's all He's ever done.
And I have been fortunate in my life - how about you? - to see with increasingly clarity the way that even my shadows are created by the light, in order that the Light might call my attention to my darkness and invite me into something more. It is by this righteous light and only by it that I have ever become a better woman and that I ever will. For that, I am incredibly grateful.
I look back on my story a lot and am often in awe of where I've come from. It's a burden, some days, to have a story. Other days, what a blessing to have a testimony. Somewhere in the middle, there is all that ever simply is. It is a dance of light against darkness and even in my own heart, there's something incredible (and sometimes incredibly painful) about that. But I love it anyway. It just gets to me.
You might think most of that light comes from the sun, or maybe the Son. You might think it was the reflection of the unseen, like the light that ignites the night sky. But I think it's simpler than that. I think it's the righteous light that rolls the stone away to guide me toward something risen. I think every bit of light in my life seeps in through that place where I was once locked in the grave and someone decided to let me walk out. By letting the light in. And letting it play with the darkness, which is just absolutely awesome.