There are very few places where there is utter darkness. Perhaps in a cave or the deep dark depths of the ocean, but even in the enveloping darkness of night there is always light, from the moon from the stars. And I have to remember that when it seems like all there is is darkness.
I had a fairly happy childhood. There were bumps and being a teenager was honestly a emotionally and (it felt) physically painful experience. It was a messy time for me growing up, dealing with the awkwardness of my body, feeling constantly emotionally overwhelmed. I don’t miss those days. Before that though I was a kid, bright, full of life. I was aware there were kids who were hungry or homeless, but I also had a fuzzy naive view that there were churches and programs and foster care homes that cared for those kids. I didn’t really realize there was horrific tragedy in the world until September 11. I was 9 years old.
I think all of us who were at least 7 on that date can remember that day in vivid detail. I remember the exact moment when I found out. It was a moment that will always stand out to me. It was one of my first moments realizing the world could be dark and that clinging to the light was the only way to get through it. It was a moment where in some small way I grew up and couldn’t see life so innocently anymore.
Now as an adult sometimes it’s hard to even look at life without cynicism. How can I just sit here when people are dying? When terrorist threaten? When men are killed for driving, for walking, for selling CDs? Is my writing enough? Is tutoring enough? Is anything enough?
I remember who is enough though.
He is the Way the Truth and the Light. When all we see is violence, he offers a different path. He reminds me that we are all in his image. You, me, police officers, victims, terrorists. He created each and every one of us with love and tenderness and care. He sees beauty in us. He sees light in us. He sees love in us.
Right now I’m not focused too much on succeeding as a college grad. Life is coming in to focus more and more these days. Things like money, success, careers, seem less important when it’s not certain we’ll live long enough to have them.
My relationships stand out to me, really focusing and enjoying the beauty of life, helping people to grow and thrive, exposing our true selves to others, saying the words “I love you” sincerely and often, holding people close, investing in our relationships, having a heart that is tender to laughter and mourning. Those are the things that really matter.
My job working for this charter school seems even more important now. Those teens are the next generation, they will fill up our hospitals, our police stations, our schools, and so many other positions. Perhaps I’ll get the chance to influence some of these kids into seeing theirs and others worth. Treating them as they are: beautiful reflections of our loving Creator.
And I know that my generation has high stakes in the shape of the world, as we step into the working world as some of us are actively training to become, cops, nurses, politicians, lawyers, reporters; my hope is that we will see a better way. A way that choose peace over war, love over hate, light over darkness.
Jesus above all.
The darkness will not prevail, the light shines even in the darkest of nights.