A Bright Sadness: Leave the Light On

What people don’t realize is how much religion costs. They think faith is a big electric blanket, when of course it is the cross.

It is much harder to believe than not to believe. If you feel you can’t believe, you must at least do this: keep an open mind.

Keep it open toward faith, keep wanting it, keep asking for it, and leave the rest to God.

~Flannery O’Connor from The Habit of Being: Letters of Flannery O’Connor

It is easy to lose faith: one bad outcome, one prayer seemingly unanswered, one loss leaving a gaping hole.

It can feel like God has up and left.

Much harder to sustain is faith that keeps an open mind in the darkness of the deep pit, in the midst of interminable waiting, or while facing the disappointment of lost hopes and dreams.

When belief is elusive, the worst possible reaction is to abandon it, to close the door and shutter the windows and remain in the dark. Prayer for faith in the middle of the struggle is to leave the light on even if you aren’t sure God will come back anytime soon.

He knows you’ve left the light on for Him.
He’ll be back.
Because He never left.

3 thoughts on “A Bright Sadness: Leave the Light On

  1. What comforting advice, strained through a seemingly interminable ‘dark night of the soul’ experience — the most frightening solitary crucible of aloneness and desperation and unrelenting doubt that one can live through. I have been there! More than once in my 86 years
    For as long as I can remember, my family (and now I), place a safely enclosed electrically- lighted candle in my large front window as soon as it gets dark. As my Irish Grandma and my Irish great-Grandma before her said as she lit her candle, ‘Just in case, He has trouble finding us.’
    I believe that the flickering flame within our soul never goes out until our bodily death and it then accompanies our soul into eternity. It remains, a little weakened and fluttering at times perhaps, but it remains. It was placed there by our Savior as our earthly life began in the womb as a reminder of his Holy Spirit’s forever presence, love and guidance.


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