She stares at the wall, searching for a window or door. A way through, a way beyond, what's right before her eyes. It's been like this, for so long - seeing what's immediate and pressing - that her vision field seems to have shrunken. How far ahead, she wonders, do I dare to strain these eyes to see? For seeing is an act of daring. An act of faith, of surrender to hope, of possibility for more than this, whatever this is.
And there are no horizons here, beckoning far in the distance, where earth huddles up against heaven. Not yet.
There is darkness. And there are walls that do not move, blocking her view.
But there is, sometimes, a crack in the ceiling through which she can see the sky. How it can bleed color at the end of a day, or how it can seem like a bottle of black ink has spilled over and clouded the sun. How it unrolls from one end to the other, as if there were an end, her eyes limited by how far they can see in any one direction.
She has heard too many voices instruct her - and others - to fight their darkness. To not yield to it. Those voices once sounded wise, but now they sound mostly afraid. Afraid of being human. Perhaps, she thinks, the bravest thing is simply to fall into it and trust she is not alone. Perhaps, she thinks, she was never called upon to rise above her humanity, for in doing so, she has failed to see the very human God in the form of Jesus, this man of sorrows acquainted with grief, who passed into the darkness of death and did not immediately overcome it. For awhile, and maybe this felt like an eternity to the eternal God with human DNA, there was no light or glory to be seen in his surrender. No simple anecdote to extract, nothing to bolster the faith or his mission.
And it didn't end there in darkness.
Because of that, she knows, somehow, even if that knowing has soft, undefined edges like the sky itself, that the darkness will not be her end, either. Indeed, it cannot even swallow her the way it did him, because of him.
It just might take the light awhile to spread through the vast, vast skies and filter through the crack in the ceiling, where maybe, then, she will see a door.
Or maybe he is her door, and because she cannot see through him yet, there is the appearance of darkness.
Only time will tell. But she is not afraid of the darkness.
* * * * *
* It's been a hard week on my heart, friends - in a hard season that seems not to have an end. It's easier, somehow, to put it into words abstractly, and right now, that seems to be all that's needed. It's not circumstances or any particular state of being I want to draw attention to, as much as this ongoing challenge to set before myself and readers the ups and downs of a story-in-process. The invitation for all of us to set aside pretense and be real, resisting the urge to wrap things up neatly. I'm beginning to wonder if that's not one of friendship's greatest gifts.
* Also, the darkness I am referring to is in no way implying that all darknesses are to be surrendered to. Obviously, I do not wish to oversimplify the darkness for those who, in this state of despair, end their lives or live in self-destruction or despair. I only wish to push back on the idea that the darkness that comes and goes in our experience of being human is to be feared or denied.