Why do we close our eyes when we pray? We've been talking about this all week, and I'm using myself as an example (because really, I can only speak for myself). Sometimes, I close my eyes because it cuts out all the distractions. Sometimes, because there's nothing worth looking at. Sometimes, because I just need rest.
But sometimes, I don't close my eyes when I pray. There are reasons for that, too. One of them, as discussed yesterday, is that I'm straining to see something better. Another one, and this will be the last post in this series for now, is this:
Sometimes, I'm just afraid of the dark.
Sometimes, I'm afraid that if one more thing goes dark in my life, that's all there's going to be. Darkness. It's like if I close my eyes, even for just a second, even to pray, what little light I have left in me is just going to get sucked away and the darkness is going to swallow me whole. Sometimes, if I close my eyes when I pray, it feels like I'm never going to be able to open them again.
It's not pretty, but it's real. It's honest, I mean.
That's the nature of darkness. It just sort of keeps creeping in until it's everywhere, until it's everything. Before you know it, there's nothing and so often, it feels like you didn't even see it coming. It just sort of...happened. And you've probably heard about or seen the meme that goes around social media every now and then - the light of a single candle is so powerful that all the darkness in the world cannot put it out. Well, that's why I pray with my eyes open sometimes. It's my last desperate cling on light.
And all the darkness in the world cannot shut one open eye.
As long as you're willing to keep looking, as long as you're willing to see, the darkness can never overtake you. I think about the nights I've been lying awake in bed and had the power go out, how at first, it's all darkness but then within a minute or two, my eyes sort of adjust. Whatever little remnants of light remain - from the stars, from the streetlights, from the sun all the way on the other side of the world - shine just enough for me to separate the shadows.
Because total darkness? It's only ever artificial. It can only exist in unreal places. Like a couple of months ago when doctors shut me in a pitch-black cylinder. There is total darkness, but it's only in man-made confines. In the natural world, in Creation, there's always at least a remnant of light. Always at least a memory of it. As long as you have eyes to see, and as long as you keep them open, you'll eventually catch on.
Which is why sometimes, I just have to pray with my eyes open. It's the only hope I have of fighting the darkness.