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.

To Whatever End

photo by Josh Scholten

To whatever end. Where is the horse and the rider? Where is the horn that was blowing? They have passed like rain on the mountains. Like wind in the meadow. The days have gone down in the west. Behind the hills, into shadow. How did it come to this?
~J.R.R Tolkien

Some days start dark, stay dark, end dark.  There is no reprieve, just impending loss.   There are so many who live out their days in the shadows, unable and unwilling to do what it takes to find the light again.

How did it come to this?  How far back was the turn that led to being lost?  How did we abandon a clear sense of direction, struggle to find purpose for getting up each day, forget to feel gratitude for the tiny things?

If we are to follow the path out, it must be with a sense of utter need and conviction.
We must give ourselves up to the rescue.
To not give up the fight.
To climb out of the shadows high enough to see the light again.
To be touched by light again.

To whatever end awaits us on the other side.