‘Darkness and Light are Alike to You’

Isn’t it gorgeous?”

It’s funny how she exaggerates that word, drawls it out as long as she is high, word so big for one so little: “goooooorgeous.” She’s in the next room and I can hear her pulling off pajamas, three-year-old grunting with sleeves, pulling off night, but she’s stopped, half hung between dressed and not, like a moon still hung in morning sky, standing there, mouth agape, hardly breathing.

So I come to see and find her there, tousled head turned to window and the gorgeousness coming, her just watching it come. Just watching it come.

We do together, my fingers finding hers.

Daybreak arrests.

Sun surges through at the edge of the world, at the end of our fields, light touching sky and she burns. She blushes deep at ardent forwardness, all this heated passion bursting upon her, and sky falls into sun’s embrace and they fill all the great vault, all the great world. All of us too.

Finally, child exhales. “Why does it come to wherever we are?

“The sun, you mean?” I help her slide on her shirt, eyes still fixed on the dawning, our faces basking in dance of light and sky, this day dressed in grace.

She nods, “All that light. Why does it follow us?” Her hair’s flaxen wheat in rays across fields.

I had thought we chased it.

The earth spinning, and us trying to catch light, elusive arching over space’s bridge.

Once I had turned to a photographer-teacher as he set up his tripod in grasses of the beach, him trying to catch a light-swath falling on a lighthouse at the end a pier, and mused at his art form, “You’re a light chaser, aren’t you? You know, like those storm chasers, always tracking down black-bellied monster clouds with ominous funneling finger…. You’re a sun chaser….”

I watched the light hit the end of the pier, break along the waves.

He had pressed the shutter, then turned from his viewfinder. I waited while he thought. “Yes, I guess that is exactly what I do. Tearing up backroads looking for the perfect light…”

Having too taken to pressing a shutter to primitively record our being in this place, I know it daily, afresh. Scanning always for a beam to break through, illumination of this shadow world, I scout for slivers of light, for pixels of sun spotlighting a knot in an old barn beam, gold pooling on plank pine floors, patch warming corn broom in corner.

I’ve thought we chased Light.

But Child hands me new eyes.

Does the Light comes after us, wherever we are?

Always pushing back the dark, relentlessly racing across the heights, seeking a break in the clouds, a way to slip through.

All that light rolling back the dark, like a stone rolling back from entrance to a tomb. Living Light forever streams down, washes over us, like living water always seeping through at the seams, looking for deeper places to filter into.

Child’s teaching me.

The current I thought I chased, it carries me.

Shalom pulls on her socks and I watch light fall across land. Sun and sky waltz, light swirling in day’s skirts. From the north, dark and long, a roll of clouds loll in. I watch shadows across earthen fields… and then the light’s gone.

And words creep into larynx and almost escape, “There! See! We are the pursuers and You hide. You veil Yourself and we forever seek. We are the God hunters, not You hunting us. Look at those clouds! We are the ones furiously chasing You….”

The clouds lumber low. The dance is over.

But the wind’s song sings on.

“He comes too in the cloud.”

I pull Little One up on my lap, and we look out across landscape, and I think I understand, make sense of her question and the ways of my life. Didn’t the Pillar lead to the Promised land? The Glory Haze descended into the Holy of Holies. The Christ ascended up in a cloud.

The clouds that drift in on a day, on a season, a life, they are mystery, meaning shrouded in vapor. But perhaps they are more.

Perhaps the clouds too are the Light’s wild pursuit of us.

Because both are alike to God. “The darkness is no darkness with you, O Lord… the darkness and light to you are both alike” (Ps. 139:12). In God, even the clouds radiate.

To the east, over the far knoll, I spot a glimmering streak, and together they move, sun and clouds, in dance of their own, this dappling play of dark and light flitting over fields.

Child and I watch it come, watch it come.

Lord God, in You, all is light… even the dark of the clouds. We trust what comes, trust what comes.

Photos: Darkness and Light found here…