Gray Light

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This is a scrap from the book I am working on, very rough around the edges.  It may speak to the title of my book, or at least what I am calling it in my proposal.    But in order to continue reading you have to promise that if it gets published (big fat if) you will still buy it.  Deal?   Okay now that that’s settled… you may proceed.

It’s been gray outside lately, last night we even got a few rare flakes of snow here in Ada.  Can I be honest?  I like it gray so much more than I like it sunny.  I love it when the sun sets in the 5:00 hour during the winter months, it seems like the struggling parts of the day are over.  The sun with all of its demands and revelations has called it quits for the day and a quiet calm settles over our house.  I don’t hate the sun, I know enough science to know that I’d be a penny-sicle without it, but still I like the sun better muted behind some clouds or at least cooler temps and breezes.

I am blessed, I am an optimist, and for the past week or so I can say that I have felt many moments of deep contentment.  So why the continued appreciation for a cloudy sky or the dark of night?

I am going to continue on under the assumption that you have been through something extremely painful in your life.  I am going to assume that you have lost, grieved and have been broken somehow.  You know those first few days after the meteor of pain has hit?  When your life feels burned, dry, damaged almost beyond repair?  You need hope and the light of love, but even though you trust God, your life is sort of dark and garishly bright light hurts your eyes and heart.

After my mom took her life, I needed the light of Gods love more than ever before.  I needed the support of friends and I craved their prayers and encouragement.  However, I found it hard to be in the presence of blindingly bright people who were unable or unwilling to connect their painful seasons with mine.  Some people, movies and songs seemed day-glo orange with joy and optimism.  It was like someone turning a floodlight onto me in the middle of the night, absolutely unhelpful.

God sustained me through the gray love-light of friends who came quietly, connecting with my pain by sharing some of their own.  They saw my gaping wound and knew that it would take months and years to scar over, rather than days and weeks.  They gently loved and kept my room softy lit, and in doing so they were the hands and feet of Jesus carrying me from minute to minute, a slow and tender journey.  Even in the most painful hours I remember words, text messages and phone calls that kept my world lit with love.  My life was never dark, God always supplied me with light, but I certainly can’t identify the deaths of my parents as bright spots on the timeline of my life.  However I praise God always for the graces and gifts he endlessly supplied during those seasons.  There was always joy to be found, always light for my path, but a gray light, which was exactly what I needed.

So often we view the light of Gods love as a supernova, and it is, it absolutely rocks our world with its impact.  Yet sometimes, more often than we realize, we are called to love softly, gently. I know from reading about our Jesus and from experience that we are always called to meet people exactly where they are.  Often when we grow and mature through something we forget what it felt like to “be back there.”   When we forget, we often fail to extend people the grace of time and patience and we expect them to “get over it” far more quickly than we did ourselves, if we’re honest, which we should be.

God never showed his full glory to anyone he met- we can’t handle it, we’re  too fragile.  A common phrase used at our church is “God is good all the time, and all the time God is good”  It’s easy to think that this phrase applies to the days on our calendar that are marked by birthdays, promotions, weddings and celebrations.  I would argue that this phrase is never more true that when we are experiencing a cup of tea in the midst of our tears, a tender hug at a funeral or a pot of soup on a day when we aren’t able to get dinner together on our own.  That is good God stuff right there.  God was so good to me in my dark seasons and that gray love-light is the only reason I am here today.  God never ceased being good, it was just a totally gray and different kind of good.

Sometimes God works through gray light, just enough love to sustain us, no more than we can handle.  I want to spread this soft gray-light around to those who may not be in a place where they can see it for themselves.  I promise you that it never ceases to surround you, no matter where you find yourself on your journey.  Gods love is the headlights on your wall when you can’t sleep or the moonlight on your floor before the sun rises.  He never ever fails to softly love you, using his words, his creation and his people all of which will shine on your with small and sustaining graces.

Gray light is still my favorite, because I wouldn’t be here without it.  I want to give it, point it out and in so doing carry out my small and unique purpose while I am blessed to have days to do so.