“You might try then, as I did, to find a sky so full of stars it will blind you again. Only no sky can blind you now. Even with all that iridescent magic up there, your eye will no longer trace constellations. You’ll care only about the darkness and you’ll watch it for hours, for days, maybe even for years, trying in vain to believe you’re some kind of indispensable universe-appointed sentinel, as if just by looking you could actually keep it all at bay. It will get so bad you’ll be afraid to look away, you’ll be afraid to sleep.” – Mark Danielewski
It can come in many forms: our past, our relationships, our circumstances.
When faced with the darkness, many fold through fear and terror. The darkness breeds all sorts of awful imaginings: monsters, ghosts, murder, death. Most importantly, the darkness breeds the unknown. What is veiled within that inky black? What waits for us in that terrible shadow, where light does not exist, where the cold has come to make its home? Some of us feel a presence in that darkness, a monster waiting to snatch us up and destroy us. Some of us peer into that darkness and find traces of insanity that call unto us. Other see the darkness as a gaping maw, waiting to swallow us whole.
And yet, darkness is not a thing. Darkness is an absence of a thing. The absence of light.
When peering into the darkness, when staring straight into the charcoal-black mist, we see something we are well acquainted with, and yet we treat as a stranger. We see our sins, the darkness of our own mind, the very anger and hatred burning in our own soul. In essence, blackness, darkness, is a mirror in which we find the other side of us – the repressed side that we would like to choose does not exist.
We are Hyde, and we are Jekyll.
And yet, when darkness, when that void, is filled with what it is missing…
“Look at how a single candle can both defy and define the darkness.” – Anne Frank
Light is the only opposition to darkness. You cannot carry a table into the darkness and expect the darkness to move, to shift, to flee. Light, though, causes the darkness to do just that. Many times, when faced with the darkness, we flee. We run in the other direction. We scream. We are sometimes so paralyzed with fear and terror that we become engulfed in the darkness. We fear it, and that fear is what destroys us in the end.
Yet we light a candle, we turn on a light, we stoke a fire, and the darkness flees and our fear subsides. The light brings comfort, warmth, purpose – the opposite of the darkness.
Neither do men light a candle, and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick; and it giveth light unto all that are in the house. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven. – Matthew 5:15,16 (KJV)
We contain light within us. Not New Age spiritual healing light. Not arcane magical light. But the light of Christ. We carry it within us, but it is up to us to shine it around us, to dispel the darkness – no matter how horrifying it may be, no matter what or who we think may be within it, no matter how thick and oppressive and overwhelming it may be.
Take a breath. Stop shaking. Face the darkness. Shine your light. Return what’s been missing in the void.
I will gather myself around my faith
For light does the darkness most fear – Jewel