” And this is the declaration which we have heard from him, and declare unto you: That God is light, and in him there is no darkness.” – John 1: 5
I have had sleepless nights, as I believe many have experienced, at one time or another. Possibly due to a stressful day or some excitement for what tomorrow is about to bring. My particular case had not a thing to do with any of those causes for loss of sleep mentioned.
It was the last night of summer vacation. I was to be up early the next morning to attend a faculty meeting and classroom set-up, for the beginning of the new school year. As one might assume, the change from summer’s sleep habits, coupled with the anticipation of the start of school; was reason enough for my soon to be restless night. However, my nocturnal trial, actually, would come at the hands of a squirrel.
As I lay down to sleep, I could hear the faint sound of scratching , coming from the foot of my bed. I decided to take a look, thinking it was one of our two cats. My investigation proved, rather, that the sound was emanating from within the wall. Neither cat was to be seen.
I banged on the wall and temporarily quieted the unwelcome intruder. To no avail; for as soon as I closed my eyes, he was at it again. It was difficult to ignore, because the longer he persisted, the louder the sound. And it seemed as though he was about to break through. The thought of a squirrel loose indoors was quite unnerving. As the night pressed on, I didn’t get the proverbial wink of sleep; as I would, periodically, get up to rap on the wall, to stay his incessant clawing.
With the appearance of the early rays of sun at dawn, the scratching ceased. He had evidently responded to the light and found his way out to his day’s foraging venture. He probably was expecting to return that night with the day’s bounty in hand, or should I say, cheek. That was not about to happen. My brother discovered the limb of the tree that was his gateway to our roof. He then, sawed off the access limb, and sealed the hole that the squirrel had made, in attempting to enter through to the inner wall.
That first day, at the opening faculty meeting, I seemed zombie-like; as I roamed around, as one of the walking dead. Fortunately, students were not in attendance, in the wake of that trying night. Now that the stressful events of that evening, have long since passed; I am able to recall details of that transition of night-to-day. That which I did not understandably notice then.
When in a completely darkened room, one cannot make out the usually familiar objects in that room, as one would during the day. The TV, at the foot of my bed, and the dresser, just alongside, were enveloped in the darkness. The nightly silence coupled with the darkness, made for an uneasy feeling of isolation. Such things one is, most often, not privy to, when asleep during those hours.
“Weeping may tarry for the night, but joy comes with the morning.” – Psalm 30:5
As dawn approaches the objects in the room become more distinguishable. Again, they begin to take on recognizable shapes; like the silhouette of a tree against the sky, shortly after dusk. The closer one gets to sunrise, one can hear the sounds of an awakening world. As I then experienced, fullness of color and detail returned to the furniture in my room; that only hours before, had melded with the blackness of night.
At sunrise, it is not as if the sun is pushing the darkness of night away, nor is darkness receding of its own volition. It is more of an overcoming. The early rays of sunlight permeate the darkness; as a splash of milk, lightens a cup of coffee. The more that milk is added, the lesser the darkness of the coffee. Subsequently, as the sunlight increases to its fullness, the darkness completely fades away.
Darkness has no inherent power. It is not as though a tug of war exists between day and night. Rather, darkness IS, because of the absence of light. The power lies with light. Darkness has its way, when light is not present. But when light returns, darkness dissipates.
Light possesses, not only, the power to dismiss darkness, but it can also reveal the incongruous. A painting shows no flaws, when first examined by the unnatural light of a candle. Yet when scrutinized by the natural light of the sun, may disclose a multitude of imperfections.
One who turns his back to the light, will have his shadow cast before him. The farther he moves from the light, the longer his shadow becomes. Within that shadow he may likely ponder his fears, uncertainty, sufferings, mortality and sorrows for regretful indiscretions. However, when one turns his face to the light, his shadow is now behind him. The closer he moves toward the light, the shadow extended behind, becomes ever shorter, and eventually is vanquished. And along with it, its burdens.
What remains is but the light. And within it one finds the source of all that he has been seeking – life not mingled with death, truth not mingled with error and love not mingled with hate.
“In the end, it all comes down to two things; light and darkness. Each of us must choose a side.” – G.K. Chesterton