in the darkness

I deeply appreciate Lee Ann Kelly as she prayerfully and thoughtfully follows Jesus in word and deed to serve our community. May her reflections touch you as well.-Renée

Walt and I like walking at night.  The neighborhood transforms from hustle/bustle to quiet, and a canopy of deep blue covers me. My body relaxes as I step outside.  Last week I walked alone. Feeling frisky one night, I added eight blocks. Yet two blocks into them, I could tell my body was tensing… and that was when I realized those streets weren’t lit.

“The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness cannot overcome it.” John 1:5

John doesn’t start his life of Jesus with birth details but cosmic ones. John knew the metaphorical “darkness.” Whether it begins in our DNA, is inflicted in childhood, seeps into us through cultural norms or through a shattering life experience, we have all been wounded. If it festers, if ‘fight, flight, or freeze” consistently trumps rational thinking, you have become traumatized.  Current research suggests as many as 1 in 4 Americans lives with a trauma mindset.

So how does one “let your light so shine” in a trauma-filled world? The last 6 years, for me it has meant shutting up.  Through a racial discussion group and what is now The Trauma & Resilience Initiative (TRI), I have learned much about systemic inequity and overcoming trauma.  Yet the most transformational moments have been when I was offered the opportunity to silently bear witness to another’s pain, their truth. Thankfully I accepted the gift (most of the time 🙂

In Luke 4, Jesus declares his ministry by quoting Isaiah 58, a wonderful passage about “good news” for the poor and setting the captives free.  Jesus knew they would know the end of the passage and wanted to remind a beleaguered people that there is hope: “Then your light will break out like the dawn…your light will shine in the darkness…”  As we have the courage to yield ourselves, light does shine in the darkness.  And the darkness  will not overcome it.  Amen.

PS. TRI’s therapeutic writing group is hosting a virtual evening of poetry THIS Friday to raise money to publish an illustrated book of their poetry called “For Colored Girls Weathering Their Storms.” (Follow the link above.)

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