Tuesday, December 10, 2013

We need darkness

For those of us in North America, this is the season of darkness. Days are shorter, much shorter. And for those of us who are Christian, it's also the season of Advent or waiting. No matter where you live or what your spiritual practices, this can be a good time to reflect on birth, growth and transformation.

Author Jan L. Richardson says in her book Night Visions: Searching the Shadows of Advent and Christmas: "We require darkness for birth and growth: the seed in the ground, the seed in the womb, the seed in our souls. ... journeying in the dark ... teaches us to rely on senses other than sight."

Much as we may not like the dark, we do need it for growth just for the very things Richardson cites. Seeds sprouting into beautiful flowering plants or fruit-producing trees. Eggs becoming embryos on their way to fabulous babies. Caterpillars becoming beautiful butterflies within the darkness of cocoons. So much transformation, so much growth and change in places of darkness.

It's true, too, that as you and I sort through life's deep questions in the darkness of our inner selves, we do best when we rely on "senses other than sight." Answers to those big questions of "Who am I now?" or "What do I really want to do?" are best answered using not just our minds but our hearts. It takes all our senses, all our being, to come to grips with how best to traverse this planet being who we were created to be and using all the talents and attributes at our disposal.

So what's trying to be born in you right now? What questions are burning inside? Let the darkness work its magic, and use your heart and all your senses to nurture whatever dreams and passions are awakening inside.

Or are you at a place of peace with who you are and what you're doing? If so, celebrate the darkness and all that provided the space and place for growth to occur.

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