Glimpsing God

For the Light-bearers

candlesandchords

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. In him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind.

John 1:1-5

I’m in darkness.

My sight fails me yet again and my heart drops harder this time. Oh, please, not again. The Doc says I may not be so lucky this time, says there may be no second chances.

And I feel those same old Fears slam me hard up against my Self and I fall down, down, so far down so very fast. I see nothing, nothing good. I see nothing but darkness.

But, I try.

I pick up the phone and call some women to beg a ride. But, the phones ring and ring, then… nothing. Some call back and say “No”, some don’t call back at all, and I fall down further still. So much further.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

She withered slowly in those first few years, so slowly one barely noticed save those who held her close. Her decline crept in quiet yet persistent, as an iceberg melting away into a vast sea. At first, one could only see her melting away as the iceberg, only from the lens of time-lapse, only under the lens of a lifetime of knowing her. Weeks became months became years and the wilting quickened, became a wasting away sure and apparent as flood waters rushing in, eroding the earth in sharp, jutting chunks leaving the landscape forever changed. In those last days even those who’d met her only by and by could see that her life was leaving her.

And we cringed inside.

So much sadness, so much darkness.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

I’m fourteen and sitting at the police station. I’ve just put my clothes back on. They took so many pictures because they had to “document this”, they said. I flinch at the pain in my ribs, my eye. I squirm against the cold steel bench below me, lay my plaster-wrapped arm in my lap, lean my ears to the lady making phone calls. She’s calling for aunts or uncles, cousins twice removed, a neighbor. She’s calling for someone, anyone, to come for me; to come for me and give me a home and keep me safe.

But the phones only ring and ring, then… nothing.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

The cancer crept quietly into her brain altering the architecture of her mind, her thoughts. Words failed her, or fell forth in torrents of incomprehensible ideas. Her mind shrank into the frailty of the body that failed her and her loved ones cringed inside, braced themselves for the incomprehensible.

And they prayed.

Still, they prayed.

And they sang.

Oh, yes. They sang.

“O soul, are you weary and troubled?
No light in the darkness you see?
There’s light for a look at the Savior,
And life more abundant and free!”

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

That was the first time I fell so very far. That was the first time “unworthy” and “unlovable” and “insignificant” hit me hard. That was the first time I felt so very alone.

That was the first time I felt my skin scale over hard and impenetrable.

That was the first time I welcomed the darkness because at least it was something and something was better than nothing. Anything was better than nothing. I asked to go back to my dad, but they said no.

 

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

In those last days they felt as frail as her, their hearts heavy as some tumbling rock rolling away under its own weight, their sadness seeping in slow yet persistent.

Still, they sang.

“Through death into life everlasting
He passed, and we follow Him there;
O’er us sin no more hath dominion—
For more than conqu’rors we are!”

They noticed music brought some clarity. They noticed their voices brought some ease.

So, they sang.

They noticed chords and melody, sound and song brought respite, a certain calm.

So, they sang.

They saw the balm of music upon her soul and they clung to the only medicine they could offer.

So, they sang.

“Word shall not fail you—He promised;
Believe Him, and all will be well:
Then go to a world that is dying,
His perfect salvation to tell!”

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Sitting here now all these years later with a phone in my hand and nothing in my ear I feel so very fourteen again. I feel as that day was yesterday and the memory is so fresh and alive and I’m taken aback, then taken back, back into that familiar pit. Before I realize what I’m doing I’m walking right back to that old familiar place filled with those old familiar lies and those old familiar bruisings.

He was a murderer from the beginning, not holding to the truth, for there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks his native language, for he is a liar and the father of lies.

John 8:44b

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

One by one, day after day, they stepped over their hearts falling to the floor and picked up their guitars. They took a seat beside her and let their fingers find fitting chords, let their lips form words of promise and praise and she smiled.

They sang and she smiled.

She smiled, still.

And still they sang:

“Turn your eyes upon Jesus,
Look full in His wonderful face,
And the things of earth will grow strangely dim,
In the light of His glory and grace.”

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Before I realize it I see only darkness.

I see children quarrel and men deceive and women slander. I see neighbor turn on neighbor and strangers threaten. I see broken boys and girls sold away. I see races hating and police shooting and suicides spurred by sadness. I see men unite with men and women with women and those beheadings I just can’t bear. I see adultery and thievery and murder and the elderly aching alone and I wonder will it ever end, can it ever end, all this wretched darkness, this heavy world, this heavy heart of mine.

And all of this consumes me. All of this world and all the heft of my history that I drag along; it consumes me.

And then it blinds me.

My vision grows as dim as these failing eyes and I sit here in darkness, defeated, blind to the light seeping through all around me.

 

The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.

John 1:5

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

In the darkness of her room they pulled melody from those chords and praise from their fear til the darkness of her disease slipped faint into the shadows. In the darkness of her room Love and Compassion flowed forth despite trembling fingers, despite trembling hearts. In the darkness of her room Peace and Grace spilled forth from grieving hearts, illuminating death’s darkness, driving it back faint into the shadows.

In the darkness of her room our Lord’s light spilled through the cracks of their sorrow.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

I can’t stand the darkness. Yet, I walk right back into it. It beckons me and I respond. Willingly. As if I don’t know any better.

As if I don’t know the Light.

As if I’ve never seen it.

 

The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.

John 10:10

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

In the darkness of those hours they sat and sang and let Love flow, and Light birthed from that Love; Light birthed bright and bold and rose up high with their song, higher and higher, oh so high, as high as her Heaven-bound soul.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

And in this darkness now a great Light births bright and bold, beckoning. In this darkness Kindness and Compassion sing songs of Grace. In this darkness Redemption rings out and Goodness abounds.

In this darkness a voice rises up high, oh so high, full of Love and longing saying

Here. Here is the Way.

Here. Here is the Truth.

Here. Here is the Light.

In this darkness the Love of Christ lives on, and on. Ever on.

Still.

Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.

2 Corinthians 4:16-18

And my vision comes back crystal clear despite the darkness around me. My heart sees what my eyes cannot and I reach out, grasping, grabbing hold. And I hold on.

I hold on for dear Life.

“Be Thou my Vision, O Lord of my heart;
Naught be all else to me, save that Thou art;
Thou my best Thought, by day or by night,
Waking or sleeping, Thy presence my light.”

 

“Turn Your Eyes Upon Jesus” – Helen H. Lemmel, 1922;
“Be Thou My Vision” – Dallan Forgaill, 1905

 

(This story linked to the blogs of Holley GerthJennifer Dukes Lee and Kelly Balarie, all of whom share their own saving stories as well.)

2 thoughts on “Glimpsing God

    • Thanks so much for coming by. I shall meander off and visit you as well. (Yes, the matter of my writing tends to be rather heavy, but then so has the matter of my life.)

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