“It is precisely because we resist the darkness in ourselves that we miss the depths of the loveliness, beauty, creativity, and joy that lie at our core.” ~Thomas More
When one of our students was leaving the after-school program yesterday late afternoon, I happened to be walking across the parking lot to go to the rectory. I heard him exclaim, as he exited the building and stepped onto the parking lot, “Ohhhh. It’s a desert out there!”
I kept a straight face and did not make a peep until I opened the front door and stepped inside. Then, I starting laughing. What can I say, he was absolutely correct. It did feel like a desert out there.
One of the reasons I was heading to my house was so that I could write today’s reflection. As I thought about his outburst, I could not help but consider the desert and what many people have called the “desert experience” or the “dark night of the soul”.
Thomas More, when writing about the Dark Night stated that we must all come to grips with the darkness in us or we will never truly be able to appreciate the light. The loveliness, beauty, creativity, and joy that Jesus came to give each and every one of us remains shadowed if we do not peer first into the darkness within in order to allow the Lord to cast that darkness out.
Next Wednesday it is supposed to rain as a cold front moves into the area. Next Thursday, the high is expected to be 68 degrees — twenty degrees cooler than it has been lately. That student will hopefully reflect upon the heat of the past several days next week when the cool weather arrives. That will make him appreciate the coolness that much more.
Without knowing the heat, we cannot appreciate the cold. Without knowing the bitter cold and snows of winter, we cannot appreciate the balmy weather of spring. Our lives are filled with light and dark, with highs and lows, with joys and sorrows. We need to connect with one in order, truly, to appreciate the other.
We do not have to like it and we do not even have to desire it; however, when God is leading us into the desert, we need to have the courage to walk boldly in. Only in facing the heat and stark barrenness of the desert will we be able to appreciate the beauty of the life that is all around us and within us.
FAITH ACTION: What are some of the fears in your life that you generally refuse to face? Ask God to give you the grace and courage that you need to face them today.