It was a slow fade, at first, with the late afternoon sun casting weaker beams in the sky. And then, like a candle snuffed quietly, the sun disappeared and one day we found ourselves eating dinner in the inky blackness. That first darkened night we huddled around the table and felt a keen need to draw closer, to touch shoulders, to clasp hands.
The hushed darkness of winter will do that to you. Pull you in.
And although the earth spins faithfully and the calendar responds in turn, even though I know this cycle by heart, I am still surprised by its steadfastness. The resoluteness of time can grate painfully across this fickle heart of mine and my grandest intentions often fall like cinders from the flame that frames each season.
The passing of years does not always equate an increased wisdom and some lessons wrap themselves in new skin and walk themselves into my days.
My latest lesson wears the skin of a baby.
His name is Samuel which means “God has heard” and how can this be since a baby was not included among my many questions? How does God hear that which has not been spoken?
But here I am, scraping together another chapter of motherhood and, in a twinkling, I am looking down the barrel of nights long and dark. The winter draws closer and I hold God’s answer in my arms.
Perhaps my question was more about the kingdom of God and perhaps the answer is, quite simply, in the here and now. For certainly nothing screams “now” more than an infant.
So the days grow shorter, yes, and the dark wants to pull us in but our desire to draw closer is also part of the answer. For often, when I am up in the deepest corner of the night, attending to the one who has turned my world upside down, I swaddle and sway and sing over the one whom my heart loves. And despite the darkness, I am still able to find his eyes. For the smallest glimmer of light, known only in contrast to the dark, is caught and reflected back to me.
Perhaps the tilt of the earth these days is less about the light leaving and more about our need to search for it anew. And our desire to draw closer is the way we kindle that holy light that seeks to circle and illuminate.
And perhaps, more poignantly, a God who hears is the real answer to all of our unspoken questions. That God pulses with a love that is longer and wider and deeper and higher than all that swirls and criss-crosses our hearts. And, just like that, the light pierces the blanket of night and I am pulled in.
Image credit: madgerly