The Wisdom of Darkness — Center for Action and Contemplation
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Summary: A Time of Unveiling

The Wisdom of Darkness

Wednesday, December 29th, 2021

Surely the darkness shall cover me,
and the light around me become night. . .
the darkness and light are both alike to You.
—Psalm 139:11–12

CAC teacher Barbara Holmes writes about how it is in times of literal or figurative darkness that new possibilities are unveiled:

As an African American woman, I wear darkness as a skin color that I love. It is a reminder of my African origins, hidden in my genes, but not accessible through memory. Without darkness, I would not be! I entered the world from the nurturing darkness of the womb and relied upon a dark and resourceful family, community, and cosmos for my well-being. . . . We come from the darkness and return to it.

But there are many types of darkness. There is the darkness of determined ignorance and hatred, impenetrable and smothering. There is the tiny microcosm of darkness that gave birth to the universe, its new realities and new worlds. There is the mothering darkness of the womb, and the protective darkness of the “cloud by night.” . . .

Because I saw my Aunties negotiate darkness as a reality with as much potential as light, I stopped being afraid of the dark. I realized that sight and insight were not dependent upon the glaring light produced by humans, for there was an inner light that glowed and revealed much more. . . . In my mind, church talk about an association of darkness with evil and goodness with light made no sense. I knew that darkness held and healed me. So, there had to be many types of darkness that I could differentiate, dismiss, or embrace. . . .

Barbara Holmes considers the hopefulness hidden in the darkness of an eclipse:

No matter how fractured things seem to be, no matter how the crisis splinters our delusions, there is a solid foundation within and beneath us, beside and between us. We can depend on this wholeness when it is experienced as a dark night of the soul for individuals, or an eclipse of the ordinary for the community.

An eclipse occurs when one object gets in between us and another object and blocks our view. . . . We are not permanently blocked from the light. Also, we are not able to rely upon our sight to overcome the obstruction.

Finally, during an eclipse, we have a dimming of the familiar and a loss of taken-for-granted clues that we rely upon every day to remind us of who we are and why we are here. Yet, although we are not always comfortable in darkness, the invitation to come away from life in the spotlight is intriguing. Could there be a blessing in the shadows?

The eclipse reminds us to linger in the darkness, to savor the silence, to embrace the shadow—for the light is coming, the resurrection is afoot, transformation is unfolding, for God is working in secret and in silence to create us anew. [1]

References:
[1] Linda Anderson-Little, “Embracing Darkness and the Solar Eclipse,” Soul Story Writer, August 22, 2017, https://www.soulstorywriter.net/109-embracing-darkness-the-solar-eclipse

Barbara A. Holmes, Crisis Contemplation: Healing the Wounded Village (CAC Publishing: 2021), 50, 51, 53, 54–55.

Story from Our Community:
I loved this idea of unveiling. It reminded me of Christmas morning, with many gifts under the tree. Some were surprises, some didn’t fit, and some, like the hats I knit for my granddaughter, just weren’t very exciting. But they were all given with love. I like to think the gifts God gives us are like these, not always perfect in our eyes, but given with love and unveiled with hope. —Ann S.

Learn more about the Daily Meditations editorial team.

Image credit: Nicholas Kramer, Untitled (detail), 2021, photograph, Seattle. Used with permission.
Image inspiration: Here, in these bare rose sepals, is the pattern of life: the budding of spring, the bloom of summer, the wilting of autumn, the barrenness of winter. In accepting this process, we unveil and make room for new life, new growth, new blooms.
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