Not surprisingly, this topic is pretty pertinent on Easter Sunday, for those of us who celebrate the risen Lord. Even for those of you who don’t, I have a sneaking suspicion you have a similar belief that embodies the notion that there is typically dark before the dawn. The good news in the darkness is that we have the knowledge that tomorrow (or at some point in the future), there will be a new beginning, a chance to start anew.
Consider the following circumstances, ones that I see people with whom I am surrounded, that rock our worlds: diagnoses of cancer, divorce, deaths of parents and other loved ones, loss of jobs, addictions, and so many other ones that some people choose to hold tightly to their vests. We are faced with unimaginably horrible news; we experience unfathomable situations, and we cry out, “How can this be happening?” “How will I ever get through it?” Even in schools where I work so often, teachers and administrators cry out, “Why do we have to change the way things we always used to do? We don’t want change!” But there is light after the darkness; we just have to be open to it.
But take a moment to think about what happens during and after each of these instances. We push through, we learn, we grow, and then we hopefully come out on the other end having become better people. I admit, personally, that being diagnosed with breast cancer almost three years ago was pretty darn devastating. I was eternally grateful to have Dave and God right by my side, along with some pretty amazing friends and family who circled the wagons and helped us out in ways we can never repay (you know who you are). But the truth is that, after going through what we went through (and just ask Dave, “we” went through it, not just me), we have come out on the other side with new insights, and the ability to help in some small ways the people who come behind and go through it after us. There was truly light after the darkness.
Our priest told us, during the Saturday night Easter Vigil, that we always have a chance to begin again, if we choose to do so. I like to say, “We can always start our day over.” Every single morning, even when I am in a hotel room in some foreign city, I get down on my knees upon awakening, and ask God (my Higher Power----choose your own if you don’t have one) to direct my thinking for the day. But somehow, every once in a while, I forget a little bit of that serenity I asked for. Someone cuts me off in traffic and I say quietly, “That wasn’t very nice” (anyone believe that is what I say?); I find out a conference call I was supposed to attend got cancelled when I could have been doing 500 other things; or a foster dog tinkles on the carpet. If I get frustrated, I have the capacity (my mission, should I choose to accept it) to start my day over. There is light after the darkness.
But here is the crux of the matter. Whatever is the new dawn that breaks for us, we can’t just talk about it. We can’t just complain about the way the world events are unfolding. We can’t just talk about it, we have to do something about it. What I truly believe we need to do about it is to be the light of Christ. We need to remind people that there is light after the darkness, and then have conversations about what that looks like and feels like in our own environment or current situation. Yes, we are going to disagree with each other sometimes. But, in all honesty, consider the times you have sat with people who all thought the same way you thought. Did you really ever learn anything new? Not I. I learn the most when I am willing and able to open my mind to “new”. The other night, my sweet Goddaughter and her family and I were sitting in our hot tub discussing public education and school violence. A couple of us have pretty firm views on those issues. But the cool thing was: we listened to each and every one of the other’s opinions and thoughts.
A friend of mine used to say, “You might be right about that” when he heard something that competed with his own beliefs. Wow, if I could only remember to do that every time I disagree with someone…
If we don’t search for the light after the darkness, who is going to do it for us?
Besides, I wholly subscribe to Nichole Nordeman's (contemporary Christian singer of whom I am her biggest fan) song SUNRISE
Listen and see what you think!