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this little light of mine…

Yesterday, as I write this, was the feast of the Exaltation of the Cross. It is a very radical idea for us to exalt the most horrible instrument of torture of Jesus’s time, but this is exactly what we do as Christians. We take the very thing that was used to kill our Savior as our most visible symbol. We wear it with pride, so to speak. It’s almost a taunt, if you will, that says to others, you think this scares me? No. this brings me life! Without this Cross, I would not have the promise of eternal life. This life came to us through Jesus, who God sent into the world as Light. In direct light all our flaws are evident. We cannot hide from our sinfulness when we shine light into our deepest recesses. But that very light can make us want to shrink back into the shadows to avoid having to face our fears, our sins, our flaws. If we don’t want to see what’s wrong with us, we will avoid the light. In other words, we won’t be able to see as well; we are somewhat blinded and only see narrowly which leads to confusion.
I don’t know about you, but as I get older I need more and more light to see clearly. When my husband and I visit our adult children in their homes, we’re always looking for brighter lights to be able to see, especially at night. The kids think it’s humorous, but they will see, with time.
Using the metaphor, it’s as if, when we become more and more accustomed to the light we can come to need it more and more. We invite it further and further into the darkest corners of our lives. As more and more things about ourselves are brought into the light, they can be healed by His love. Isn’t that what I’m trying to learn to do in my studies in Spiritual Direction? We are there to help others, to walk with them, as they shine His light into the fears and insecurities and reticence in their hearts and bring them out into the light of day. It’s painful, dirty work, and as we’ve already seen, it gets messy, but, Wow, what a gift!
I think, as I become more and more aware of my sinful nature, I see just how completely dependent I am on God. Trying to see life through His eyes, I see Him everywhere – in the needy He is the opportunity to help; in the frustrations and challenges of life, He is the One who walks with me so that I can face those struggles; in the joys of life, I see His gifts. Do I do this perfectly? Not by a long shot! But the more I try to look through the lens of God’s camera I see His handprint all over the place.
It’s kind of like when I go through my days I am pretty oblivious to what kinds of cars people drive. Friends think it’s funny that I don’t always recognize their cars when I’m driving through our tiny town. Cars just aren’t my thing until I need to purchase a new one. Then I start to notice the makes and models of other cars on the road. I ask others about what they like and don’t like about the vehicles they drive. I am looking at cars through a different lens because it’s a focus in my life. But once I’ve purchased the car and get used to it, I go back to my not noticing the various modes of transportation people use.
Likewise when I started trying to see God in all things my focus naturally began to notice things more. It’s as if a light shines on them and lets me see the things that have been there all along. I hope I never go back to taking that for granted. I pray that I never stop being “blinded by the light.”

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