We have been invited.
We have been given the rules.
We are now asked to contemplate.
Such a loaded word. So much baggage has been packed on those few letters throughout the years.
But it is the one I consider as I walk down past three houses then turn left down the path to the lake. Another left finds a smaller path hidden among the brambles and bushes. A small strip of packed Georgia red clay leading from the bright sunlight into the dark, damp woods.
It’s appropriate that I enter into the dark from the light. These past few days I have considered the words, “…gazing with faith, hope, and love…” as I work my way through a mourning period at the passing of a dear family member this past week.
How do I observe with a mind and soul full of grief? With tears flowing as memories of a life lived flood my being?
And yet this is exactly the time that Barkat says that contemplation can make itself known. It comes not through light or “effort but through darkness.” I did not understand a week ago those words. They bounced around my mind tumbling as pebbles in stream searching for a resting place but the current to strong to allow for any meaning.
And then death arrived one morning and slowly the current began to slow. Even in the midst of tears. One event and understanding begins. Contemplation, observation, begins to occur in the darkness. And I found that L.L.’s words are true, “Grace can drift in with the night.”
So I walk quietly down the path from afternoon light into the dark of the woods to find a fallen oak where I sit and observe. See. Feel. Contemplate the shafts of light that penetrate the forest canopy and reach the leaf littered floor as the light of grace does the same to a grieving soul.
This post gave me chills. “Grace can drift in through the night.” And the light shines in the darkness, and the darkness does not overcome it.
Grief has a way of doing that.
That line got me too. Grace changes the past and the present, doesn’t it?
She takes the blame
She covers the shame
Removes the stain (U2, lyrics by Bono)
A beautiful contemplation, eric.
“How do I observe with a mind and soul full of grief? With tears flowing as memories of life lived flood my being?”
For me, it’s always in the most difficult times that I have the hardest time contemplating. I want something to make it better – when really, the contemplating allows God to seep in …
Eric – this is incredible. Thank you for sharing your personal experience.
My husband talks about people contemplating their navel. So often I associate contemplation with laziness and dead space. I process my thoughts outside of my body: talking, blogging, journaling. It would be good for me to learn to become more contemplative, to think before I speak or act.
. . . not through light or “effort but through darkness.”
How well I know this. The light shines brightest in the dark.
Praying that, indeed, grace will continue to drift in with the night. There is something special about the dark times that can’t be put into words, even as they can be so painful.