Skip to content

Darkness and Light – A Reflection

August 21, 2021

For both Denise and me, these past few weeks have been both a challenge and a blessing. Tonight Denise is in Florence, Alabama caring for her father who had a stroke and today moved from the hospital to rehab. We received the news on Wednesday and she spent Thursday driving from Minnesota to Alabama. Yesterday and today I walked with Dad as he navigated rehab and life at Good Samaritan in Albert Lea, Minnesota. Spending my days in Albert Lea (just as Denise had been doing from the last week of July until this week) has been an opportunity to both walk with Dad and get to know a phenomenal care staff who is working with Dad. I can hear my former Command Chaplain Boss at AF Special Operations Command chuckling that his former Deputy who was an Austin High School Packer was spending so much time in his old stomping grounds… He was an Albert Lea Tiger and they were conference rivals of ours in High School (and still are today). I can’t believe I hired a Packer to be my Deputy was what he said!

Anyway, it has been a time of introspection for me. It has also been a time of fun as HRH Queen Pixie (pictured below) made her presence known at Good Sam’s.

HRH Pixie went from her travel bag to the bed and then jumped on the pile of blankets on the chair, over to the lazy boy chair before jumping back to the pile of blankets where she held court with the Good Sam staff and kept us all amused!

Today was a day for musical reflection as well. It wasn’t a time for introspective music though. I was taking a trip down memory lane with a band that had a significant impact on me in High School and College, Styx. Denise and I got to see them perform in Orange Beach, Alabama during a two week (including two Sundays) break that Presbyterian Community Church in the Rockies in Estes Park, Colorado gave to us following the journey through the Shadows with both of our Moms (Nov 2017 and Mar 2018). The concert had been rained out the night before we arrived and were were able to snag tickets for seats six rows from the front for the re-scheduled concert. Here’s a bit of trivia… Tommy Shaw, the lead guitarist, grew up in Orange Beach, Alabama and was thrilled with the crowd that came back the day after a rain cancellation to enjoy the show.

Well, today as I listened to their music on my drive back to Austin from Albert Lea a song from their recently released album (in my pre-digital brain they are still albums or cassette tapes!) “Crash of the Crowns.” The song is “Hold Back the Darkness.” It pretty much encapsulated the events and feelings of the COVID reality which began in March, 2020 and continues today with new variants. Between the difficulties of change for our Dads and all of the traveling we have been doing, it has been a challenge. So as I was driving, the song touched me as it invited me to reflect on the valleys of the shadows I have encountered throughout my years of ministry and the journey through the valley of the shadows that Denise and I have walked through together with so many parishioners and with our Moms and now, in a different way, our Dads.

These are the closing lines of the song —

And I feel no pain
Nothing can touch me, and I’m gonna win
And I’m not holding back, not reining it in
You hold back the darkness, and we’ll all see the sun rise again. (Crash of Crowns, 2021)

As we walk together through this landscape of fear, hatred, division, and war dear reader; I am reminded that we will indeed see the sun rise again despite the current darkness. These words of Thomas Merton also invite us to walk through the darkness with hope, not hopelessness, as we are led to the dawn of the new day of hope.

And it is in this darkness, when there is nothing left in us that can please or comfort our own minds, when we seem to be useless and worthy of all contempt, when we seem to have failed, when we seem to be destroyed and devoured, it is then that the deep and secret selfishness that is too close to us for us to identify is stripped away from our souls. It is in this darkness that we find liberty. It is in this abandonment that we are made strong. This is the night which empties us and makes us pure. (New Seeds of Contemplation)

This is my hope and my prayer as we walk together through these difficult times, dear reader. May we sense and be supported by the presence of the Spirit as She holds back the darkness and invites us into the sunrise of a new and glorious day!

One Comment
  1. Reblogged this on Anniegoose's Blog and commented:

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: