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Monday after Lent V–March 30, 2009

  • Posted on Mar 30, 2009

Finding God in the Dark

Darkness is not dark to you; the night is as bright as the day. Psalm 139

At our parent retreat on Saturday afternoon, we talked about what we found frightening about the dark. When we were little, were we afraid of the dark? Most of us were. On Saturday, we named some things that were frightening about the dark. We were afraid of imaginary types of things–hobgoblins and ghosts and zombies were top of the list. We were also afraid of things that were real–rabid foxes (someone grew up in the country)and burglars (for the city folk). For almost everyone who was afraid of the dark as a child, the number one reason was being all alone and separated from our parents. A light in the hall was a help. A voice responding to our cries was even better. A loving hug that all was well was best of all.

At one time or another in our lives as adults, we wake up at night and can’t go back to sleep. Our minds are racing with many thoughts and worries. When we can’t sleep, some of us get up, turn the light on and work. Some of us turn the light on and read ourselves back to sleep. Some toss and turn the rest of the night. Some stay in the dark and say a memorized psalm or prayer. I often think that if I just get comfortable once again, I’ll go back to sleep. So, I often toss and turn for a while. In my better moments, I remember that God is in the dark night with me. I recite Compline to myself to connect with God–and often I am asleep before I get to the psalm portion of Compline. I also remind myself that when I wake in the night, it is usually because I have overdone myself at work. I try gently to remind myself to take it easy. I imagine that when I do these things, God smiles.

I can’t say that I do remember that God is in the night with me every time. Sometimes I just toss and turn and think. When I was a little girl, I was afraid of the dark. I needed a light on in the hall. Sometimes I would cry out and be comforted when my mother answered or, better yet, came to sit on the edge of my bed until I went back to sleep. Now, inner fears can surface in the night. God is there. In the dark. Right there next to me on the edge of the bed. God is there all along.

What do you do when you can’t sleep? Can you find God in the dark?