Can I be really honest? I woke up and the world was total darkness. It’s been like that the last few weeks as we meander through fall and into the quickly approaching winter season. When we made the switch to 3 services it seemed like I woke up and raced the sun into the day. It was fun to see daylight crawling in behind me as I left my house and to have the sun peeking over our building just as I walked in. But now we’ve hit a later season the sun seems to be cradled in its warm bed far longer than I get to be. The alarm goes off and I wake up into a startled darkness. “This can’t be right.” I think every time, “I must have set my alarm far earlier than I needed. To my great surprise that hasn’t been the case. Some mornings I’ve even been a few minutes later than I needed to be and the darkness was still saturating the world I am expected to go and live.
When I have to turn the knob of a lamp because I cannot see to stumble out of my bed- this is an injustice. Especially for a weekend. But today it was especially dark because of the rain. Even as I arrived at the building it remained a dark stillness. It was as if the world had collectively pressed and was one hushed “shhhhhh. Just 5 more minutes.”
When I arrived today our building had no power. So I went from darkness to darkness. Even our facility wasn’t ready for the day. Yet even in the stillness I heard laughter and singing. Preparation for the day continued with iPhone flashlights representing the hope that we’d be able to have service and pull off another day of getting and giving life.
By 7:45 the glorious hum of the air unit appeared and fluorescent lights flooded the building. We would indeed survive the day.
The next few hours would be a buzz of waist-high hugs, hellos, laying down of to-dos for ministry, half-finished conversations, jokes, and weekly catch-ups. All too quickly it’s time for lunch and then to community time with a group of ladies.
A little more than 12 hours after I left, I return home. I step inside the door and as I turn the lock I feel it. Every single emotion from the day. The heartache, the amazement at what Jesus is doing with the disbelief of what people have to walk through.
The sheer honesty some people trust you with and the joy, too. It washed over me and I stood still for a moment. It was nice and also awkward. It was amazing and uncomfortable. It felt like a warm blanket I could snuggle into while also feeling like a skin I could shed and cast away from me. It was unrest.
I was reminded of the darkness from this morning. A darkness I left. A darkness that was replaced by laughter in odd circumstance, by praises when electricity returned to our facility, by kids with big hearts and big stories, by people who take time to see me and let me see them, by waist-high hugs, hi-fives, and “good job!”, by sitting in a service with others- worshipping and growing together. It was replaced by watching people with gifts for communicating with kids, by catching up with family and friends, by joy and sorrow-filled community with women. Darkness replaced by a whole lot of light.
Yet I can’t help but feel burdened for the people who stayed in darkness today. This is an injustice. For the people who never turned on the lamp and stumbled out of bed. Didn’t experience community and life. Or for those who did get up, but stayed in the darkness like our powerless facility. They chose to be present, but they never experience the hum of the electricity being restored. My heart is burdened for those people tonight. I may wake up in darkness but I run to the light. I run to Jesus. I run to community.
If you bothered to read this far and you don’t have a light to turn on or you don’t have a community then I urge you to reach out. You aren’t a burden. You aren’t too loud, too dramatic, too quiet, too much, too little. You are enough and you are made to live in the light. I’d like to be the iPhone flashlight to guide you back to our powerful source. You’re worthy of more than darkness.