Saturday, December 15, 2012

Finding the Light in Dark Times

Just a day ago, I was staring up at the sky in the middle of the night, hoping to see a shooting star during the Geminides meteor shower. As if the sky held some kind of power to lift me from the quagmire of my everyday. As if that shooting star could pull me from the doldrums and into Life’s Mystery that is magical and open to possibility. I stared and didn’t see one. Twice, I sat out on my deck in the middle of the dark night and waited. Nothing.

And then when I least expected it, on a run with friends, a star fell right in front of us and we all screamed with excitement. It was a joyous moment. A gift.

That was about 4 hours before I would read about the Newtown shooting. I contemplated the word “shooting” and felt sad and ashamed by the folly of my quest to see a "shooting" star. Such a tragic turn of events darkened everything and even the stars felt silly and lost their light.

Today I am wrestling with the concept of darkness all over again. How could something like this happen? No one’s mind can wrap around such a senseless act of violence perpetrated against our most innocent. Debilitated by sadness and rage, I am scouring my soul for some light. Instead, I sit in the wake of the wreckage of one man’s insane moment and feel only the pain of the families who lost loved ones and just cry and cry.

I suppose in these dark moments, I still look for the stars that fall unexpectedly out of the sky.

For me, the stars are the people and their stories. In dark times like this, I cling to stories of people helping other people and suppose that it is here where I find that flicker of light.  

It is the teacher heroically protecting and loving her students, kissing them and telling each one that she loved them, fearing those would be the last words they heard. The light is the state trooper, my brother-in-law, who was a first responder who helped the survivors and heroically helped young children exit the school. The light is friends hugging other friends and opening up their hearts, crying with honesty, pretense gone forever. The light is the awe I feel reading Facebook messages back and forth from a couple in Newtown to their friends in Uganda. This couple gives so much of their time helping people in a country torn up by violence and war. On this day, the Ugandan friends are sending heaven prayers for their Newtown friends torn up by violence.

          Okello Sheikh We in uganda we appreciate ur effort towords the sitation stil we are togather with u in prayer
Margo Deselin Woodall Thank you, Okello Sheikh. You know more than most people in the world what this kind of suffering is like. We appreciate your thoughts and prayers.

The light is my children asking how we can help the Newtown families. It is the witnessing of people organizing community events so that we can do what comes most naturally for us during these dark times – gather and hold each other up with a hope we can’t see, but collectively desire desperately. 

So maybe I am staring up again at a dark sky.  

And maybe that unexpected light is the human spirit.

Let’s keep that flicker alive for the sake of our Newtown friends.

1 comment: