From the darkness...
"And God said, 'Let there be light,' and there was light!"
~ Genesis 3:1
When I think about creation, I realize that light was the very first thing that God called into existence. Light serves many purposes, both literally and figuratively.
Being vulnerable to truth, and our own life narratives can sometimes be a difficult journey, but being able to own our own experiences and life stories in the light, can become powerful.
Years ago a man shared with me the struggles he had lived through growing up, and that as he was dying, shared stories of what he had done in the "dark times of his life," as he explained. These stories included the accidental killing of a friend.
As he shared of the events of the night that included "several drinks," and then "getting into a car and driving off into the night," he shared how he had driven off the road, hitting a tree, and leaving the scene, knowing his friend was badly hurt. "I just left him in the car and I walked home."
Because of the way the car landed and the position of his friend when the accident was discovered, it was hard to determine who the driver had been. When the police questioned him, he had lied and said his friend had dropped him off and "that was it."
The man had carried this with him for nearly thirty years.
Telling the story, and bringing the events of that night, brought the experience back to life. While he didn't know if the man's parents were still alive he shared that, "they have to know what I did."
Because of his condition, I helped him write a letter telling them how sorry he was for not being truthful, and that he didn't do more.
Two days later the man died. With the help of a friend who worked with the police department we were able to get the letter to the friend's brother who was still living. I don't know how he reacted to the letter, but I know for the man who owned up to the situation, he was able to experience a sense of peace.
Owning our own stories can be hard but not nearly as difficult as spending our lives running from them. Embracing our vulnerabilities is risky but not nearly as dangerous as giving up on love and belonging and joy. These experiences that make us the most vulnerable.
It takes courage to talk about our dark times with others, but when we do, it's as if we are hearing the words of God, declaring "let there be light!"
In today's world, we seem to know a lot about darkness, and things to fear, but I am reminded that no matter how dark these things may be, the light can never be overcome by the darkness.
Only when we are brave enough to explore the darkness will we discover the infinite power of God's light in the world!
Stay in God's grip!
G. Todd Williams (c) 2018
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Rev. G. Todd Williams lives in the Houston metro area and is a Hospice Chaplain at Essential Hospice, Webster, Texas, and is an ordained Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) pastor.