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Posts Tagged ‘Light’

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Although we were driving, although the windshield was really dirty, although I am no photographer … I just had to get a shot of the sun in the distance.

Even with the vast array of filters at my hand (literally) it still does not do justice for what my eyes saw.

There is something about sunrises, and sunsets, and rays of light that regularly makes me pull out my phone to try to get the image recorded forever.

According to Maclaren’s Expositions, “in all languages, light is the natural symbol for three things: knowledge, joy, purity. To ‘walk in the light’ then, is, speaking generally, to have purity, righteousness, goodness, as the very element and atmosphere in which our progressive and changeful life is carried on.

1 John 1:5 tells us:

“God is light; in him there is no darkness at all”

If light is the symbol for knowledge, joy and purity, we could then extrapolate that God, being light, is the very source of knowledge, joy and purity.

Kinda makes our magnetism for light make sense. It draws us to it, as Christ draws us to him, and through him we experience true knowledge, joy and purity.

Even our Wonder dog is drawn to the light. 

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An afternoon when the sun shone brightly, then clouds came, then quals of snow, and repeat.

A dinner for two … my son caught up in thoughts of his day, I caught up in wondering about, you know peace on Earth, or some other such lofty thing.

I loaded the dishwasher, he headed upstairs to finish writing a short story.

I sighed …

and returned to the dining room to clean the table.

As I entered the room, with he setting sun brightening the entire room, I sighed again …

with delight. And smiled. And thought how I love that room.

Then I thought how I love the climbing rose bushes outside the dining room doors, and how eager I am to breath in their perfume.

And how soon the two Forsythia trees, perfectly in view from the dining room, would be ablaze with yellow flowers.

And how I aced the chicken and rice soup for dinner.

And that I was thankful for the furniture in the dining room that I would be refinishing for a friend.

And, all of a sudden not only the room was lighter, but so was my heart.

“Every good and perfect gift is from above,
coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights,
who does not change like shifting shadows.”
James 1:17

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images-1At this time of year there is nothing more beautiful to see (other than snow falling … oh how I would love to see snow falling … maybe even snow falling that leads into a school cancellation … but, I digress) than a toddler or preschooler mesmerized by the lights of Christmas. Truly there is no more wonder-filled look than that!

The child stares into the lights, unable to break their glance. They are completely in awe, pulled into the mysterious power of color and light.

I tried so many times with our children to capture that look in a picture, but was never able to get it. As I looked through images online, I realized that I am not the only parent unable to capture that look of wonder, as there were so few photos available.

That light-memorizing wonder is one that parallels our innate wonder for light, but beyond the visual light. That “God-shaped vacuum” within us is one of longing to be filled by the light of the Creator of this world, of us. It is the light from our Creator that is contained in the brilliant lives of those who love Him, of those who allow Him to lead their lives.

Isaiah 60:1-3 says:

“Arise, shine, for your light has come,
and the glory of the Lord rises upon you.
See, darkness  covers the earth
and thick darkness is over the peoples,
but the Lord rises upon you
and his glory appears over you.
Nations will come to your light,
and kings to the brightness of your dawn.

Our hearts are sensitive to the presence of light, and this is the season when light is celebrated. Ironically, not just among Christians, but also Jews (Hanukkah), African Americans (Kwansaa), Hindus (Diwali), and probably even more. We all long for the wonder of light to enter into our beings, so that we might all shine … as we were created to do.

“O little town of Bethlehem
How still we see thee lie
Above thy deep and dreamless sleep
The silent stars go by
Yet in thy dark streets shineth
The everlasting Light
The hopes and fears of all the years
Are met in thee tonight”

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Warning … I might start off sounding rather … heretical in my attitude, but don’t worry, the light will shine in the darkness I am about to create 😉 .

A number of months ago I opened up a certain social networking site to see a status update, by one of my ‘friends’, that made me want to stick a finger down my throat to indicate gagging. The status of this ‘friend’ was similar to others posted by this individual … very … spiritual, kind of … holier-than-thou …

My first thought was (and this is where you might start to doubt my walk with God) that this person is simply too heavenly minded to be any Earthly good.

Every time I would read a new status update by this individual, it was so … god-talk, and it drove me rather buggy. I wondered if this person had any non-Christian friends, or if they had all be scared off by the churchy-talk.

TooHeavenlyMinded

Now, don’t get me wrong, I did not disagree with what was being shared in this person’s status’, it’s just that … well, if they scared me off, and I share their beliefs, what does that do to those around them who do not?

Let me give you a comparison …

I love eagles! I am in awe of the ease with which they soar through the air, despite their size, despite the wingspan they have. When I see an eagle in the sky, it is like when my dog sees a squirrel!

Well, the other day, I was driving along the road when my eye caught an enormous eagle in the sky. I do not think that I have ever seen one with such a large wingspan. Although all alone in my car, I was audibly declaring my ‘ooohs and awes.’ All of a sudden I remembered that I was indeed driving a car, and was glad that I did, since the traffic ahead of me was coming to a halt (and I came to an even more abrupt halt).

Once safely stopped, I glanced skyward to see the flying beast, but it was gone from my sight.

My eagle story reminded me of my holier than thou friend.

There is something so right in acknowledging and enjoying that flying eagle. Really it would be a shame to not appreciate such an amazing beast. But, when I am driving a car, driving safely needs to be my number one priority … I cannot take my attention from what I am doing in the present moment.

In a similar way, focusing on heaven is so right, because it is my destination. It would be a great shame to not appreciate such an amazing eternal future that those of us, who believe in Christ, have awaiting for us in heaven. But, when we are living our Earthly life, our focus needs to be on living this life of kingdom living … of sharing the joy, and love, and good news of life with Christ here and now … not just the life after death. It is in the driving with focus on this life, that we arrive better prepared for our final destination. After all we are living the kingdom life her … now, and not just after we die from our Earthly existence.

This Earthly existence is the kingdom existence, we do not have to dream of heaven, of walking the streets of gold with our Savior. He walks with us NOW, He is present NOW. His kingdom is not up in the clouds, and our thoughts need not be there either. The kingdom of God is at hand … lets keep our hands on the wheel, and our eyes on what is immediately in front of us.

“Being asked by the Pharisees when the kingdom of God would come, he answered them, “The kingdom of God is not coming in ways that can be observed, nor will they say, ‘Look, here it is!’ or ‘There!’ for behold, the kingdom of God is in the midst of you.” Luke 17:20-22

 

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800px-Keji_sunrise_treesI love to awaken before the rest of my family is up.

This is especially true in the summer time, when the windows are opened.

The house is so very quiet.

The only sounds are the sounds of my computer keys clicking as I start my day with God, through the ends of my fingertips, as my soul gets poured out in the daily reminder that it truly is a wonder-filled life.

But, in the summer my morning quiet time is less quiet, but even more wonder-filled.

The dawn chorus of many birds sing through the open windows.

I hear the crazy neighborhood woodpecker, who keeps mistaking the metal lamp standard for wood.

I hear the bark of one dog, leading to a frenzied conversation between all dogs withing hearing distance of each other.

On the rare morning the nearby coyotes call out their morning song.

And then there is the sun, something that is a rare sight during the winter months, but one that we see almost daily in the summer. Some mornings it’s brilliance through the trees beckons me to emerge from my house, and stand in wonder as it peeks from behind every tower in it’s path.

And the sun illuminates the magical creations of the spiders, webs edged in dew …

the brilliance of the colors of the flowers in my garden …

the vivid greens of the grass and leaves.

And I am drawn in to the creation

which draws me to the Creator

it truly is

a wonder-filled life!

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6954433df19278e31fa16459d806097eWell, I got your attention, didn’t I?

Due to the title of this blog, my stats will be through the roof.

You would not believe the sort of searches that I awaken to each and every morning. It is, at times (too many times) offensive, frightening and causes me to wonder what causes these men to seek images and words of child sexual assault. I also smile when I realize how ironic that these, presumably male, seekers who are looking for something so dark, have come to my blog, which I pray is saturated with the light of Christ.

I heard about Ratanak International at my workplace in a high school, when the founder (and former RCMP Investigator), Brian McConaghy spoke to our high school students and staff. Over five hundred individuals sat there, in utter silence, while this rather plain-looking, middle aged man told simply the facts of the lives of too many young girls (as young as five).

No one walked away unchanged.

Today I bring to you a video produced by 100 Huntley Street. Please watch it, not because it is ‘good’, but because the more people who know what happens to little girls all over the world, the more light that is shed on this dark, dark hell on Earth …

the easier for redemption to come to those who need it’s re-birthing breath of fresh air …

and light.

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Fog

The recent time change has brought fog into most of my mornings. Oh, it has been there for weeks before, but I was always oblivious to it, as it was hidden in the early morning darkness.

Now, as the clock moves from 6:30-7:00, as light is pushing away the darkness of night, fog draws a creative, and eerie, view from my window. The trees seem more defined20121115-162845.jpg, and yet less so, depending on how far into the fog they stand. The fog obstructs my view, and yet brings to attention that which is nearest to me. It makes me want to fill my coffee mug yet again, and turn my seat to the window and just stare … stare into the fading, stare into the emerging forms in front of me. It is wet to walk in, dampening everything it touches, without … the feeling of being touched. Yet it is warm to the eyes, it completes, it blankets all around it with it’s arms of total inclusion.

Fog both scares me and puts me at ease at the same time. It is mysterious and confusing and beautiful and inviting all at the same time. It is my morning conundrum.

As I emerge from my home, as the clock is nearer to eight than to seven, fog’s background is no longer darkness, but light. The sun seems to be pushing so hard to push through, to burn through the tiny droplets of precipitation. And as I life my eyes, drawn upward by the magnetic force of the light, I see that the light of the morning sun is winning in places, pushing the fog away, like pushing away a warm morning blanket, to show me the blue waiting to flood the skies, and the brilliance of it’s shine.

Later yet, as I drive in the glorious sun, the blue of the sky creating smiles just from it’s presence, I am moving towards a hill where I will enter a lower elevation, and, once again, the fog is present. It lies in the valley like a cottony blanket, or bridge, but this bridge will allow no vehicle to cross … the only way is through the fog. And my heart beats with excitement and anticipation, as I lower into it’s mysterious abyss.

“You do not know what tomorrow will bring.
What is your life?
For you are a mist
that appears for a little time
and then vanishes.”
James 4:14

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One of my favorite parts of working in high school is seeing the metamorphosis that occurs as teens grow and mature in their relationships with their peers.

It can leave a residue on my heart, that, over the years, has changed how I related to students.

There was a girl who was choosing poorly. She had given up on the ‘childish’ things she loved, things like sports, her youth group, books and schoolwork. She was mentally moving to the wrong side of the tracks, and on that wrong side was hanging out at the mall, friends who brought her down, premature dating and exposures to chemical substances.

She was only twelve.

For the next three years she chose the ‘dark side’ and, ironically, that dark side started to gray her appearance. Her make-up became darker, her clothes became darker, tighter and more revealing, her attitude became darker, and her personality became darker.

Her marks slid, her reputation with peers was negative and she was ‘pegged’ a hopeless case. Sadly she was probably pegged that hopeless case a long time prior, as her home situation was a rough one that could make it difficult for her to see and dream of hope for her future.

Then, as school began for yet another year, this young lady ‘looked’ different. The shadows were disappearing, and were being replaced by a brightening, a lightening of her appearance. Her make-up was lighter, her clothes were lighter, looser more modest, her attitude, her personality seemed cheerier, happier, lighter.

That new school year she tried out for a sports team, she walked with a smile, instead of a scowl, and she began to make efforts to connect with a different, a more hope-filled, a more future-minded crowd of peers.

It does not always happen this way, but that different, more future-minded crown of peers, welcomed her in. They accepted her, and invited her to be part of them, to be one of them.

Her life began to show signs of hope.

This story is one that I created from a combination of many stories I see walking the halls of high school every day. It is a story without knowledge of the ending as we do not know where the life of an adolescent or teen might go.

What we do know is that the life of a teen or adolescent is like that of a tight rope walker. They might be headed along on the straight and narrow, but at any time they might lose their balance. The resulting fall call be fast, hard, and with long lasting consequences.

When you see a teen you know, say hello to them, ask about their weekend, their plans for after school. These simple, natural interactions, accompanied by silent prayers for the life, the heart, the soul of that individual, can be the bright spot in an otherwise dark day for a teen. Be intentional in noticing these developing souls as they prepare to emerge from their adolescent cocoon as a moth or a beautiful butterfly.

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As I watch the dark push away the light,

The sun is being swallowed by the horizon

Gone forever

My soul longs for the it’s final small slivers still in the sky,

The remnants of what is passing,

Of what will also soon be gone forever,

Never to be exactly the same as in this present moment.

My head lays down at night with the hope of light arising again in morning,

When darkness falls upon this world it is a reflection of my heart,

My heart whose life evidence was in it’s soundless beat in my ears,

But whose rhythm I felt in the whole of my body,

Now, it too is gone.

The ache settles in my soul, filling every part, forcing the last rays of light away,

Until there is nothing but darkness,

There is no light in view,

There is only nothingness,

In the dark there is no light to keep me warm,

To make me feel alive.

In the dark there is no growth

There is an absence of all things that light allow to grow,

And more dire than a severed vein,

There is only the stagnancy from the absence of anything,

Nothingness is all that is left,

The light is gone,

The dark has come,

The ache is all that remains,

To torture my soul,

Forced into believing

I am still alive.

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Since the start of the new year, I have been overcome with light.

The topic of light has been everywhere. It has been in the music I listen to, the ‘pins’ I see (on Pinterest) , the conversations I have had, the classes I assist in, the sermons I have heard. Light has been shining brightly in my eyes!

Now, as spring is progressing, I get to awaken to lightened skies, as the light of the sun push the darkness away, even on the gray and dreary days.

That is what light does … it pushes the darkness away.

As someone who finds the monsoon-like dark winters, where I live, to be rather depressing, I really like how light can push away the darkness. I have even known a certain hubby to try to woo me with moving to places like San Diego, where they get about two hundred and sixty-six days of sun a year (compared with Vancouver, BC’s miserable daily averages of 1.8 and 2.0 hours a day of sunlight in December and January).

When I awaken to even a speck of sun through the clouds, my day looks brighter. When I awaken to dark, gray and rain, I can feel my spirit drop. Light can set the stage for things to come.

I am learning to take joy in the little glimmers of light that I get in the dark months of the wet West Coast. I am gradually understanding that to get outside when the sun does shine, and to speak of the little bits of sun when it does show it’s face, is to store up the positive effects of light, for times when it is hidden by gray clouds.

Really, though, the sun is always there, even though it might be above the clouds. The many shades of gray are only visible because of the presence of light. Without light, there would be no gray, there would be no shadows. Light, cast into the darkness, causes shadows where it cannot reach directly. But, when light is cast into the darkness, our eyes need only to be focused on the light. The light draws our eyes from the darkness, and they follow it’s path.

Jesus said, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life” (John 8:12). He also said that we (who follow him) are like a city built on a hill, visible to all, and if we live in His light, others can see it, and also choose to live in His light. (Matthew 5:14-16 … Carole Wheaton translation 😉 ).

The light is there … even if all we can see are the shadows.

“A man can no more diminish God’s glory by refusing to worship Him than a lunatic can put out the sun by scribbling the word ‘darkness’ on the walls of his cell.” ~ C. S. Lewis

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