I’ve learned to cope by separating the world into black and white. That’s how it’s been. Church taught me “right” and “wrong.” The good and the bad. The saved and the unsaved. Sin and repentance. Heaven and hell, here on earth. Here in my every day life. Each moment a choice between life and death. Here, burned into my soul.
I wish I could believe in the in-betweens. The lost and wandering and finding and losing again. The mingling of light and dark. The mystery in shadows, in unknowing, being undone and rebuilding again. The grief of love, and love forged by grief. Helplessness in the face of great suffering and power in a small act of kindness.
Beyond binaries. To hold and break both life and death, like the bread and the wine, like his birth and death and life again.
I hold both life and death. I am dying and being reborn. These words my pain spilled out, both scarring and healing me.
I wish it could be enough to sustain me. But I constantly find myself returning to this place of black and white, this splitting, dissociating, fragmented existence. Denying myself the possibility of hope when faced with the suffering all around me. Forgetting that beautiful moments have come with a price, and duped into believing I will never pay those costs again.
It’s so dark these days. Night falls fast and lasts a lifetime. When will spring return? Will spring return? I remember light. But I don’t believe in it anymore. Will I remember it when it returns again? And will I remember then too the darkness?
Trying to hold both light and dark, it all just seems so grey.
You, who have shown me honesty in your faith and in your doubt, in your questions and your assurances, in your brokenness and your beauty. You, who are both strength and vulnerability. Brave and full of fear. You, with your heart of gold and your anger and your grief. Betrayed and full of grace. Shamed and full of pride. You’ve shown me colours I haven’t dared to believe in.
You are this mix of light and dark, not grey but burning. Like the flame that burns from blue to white to yellow and orange and red. Turned to smoke and lost amidst the night air.
You are the incarnation, the advent I so desperately need. The coming of the Christ, “for Christ plays in ten thousand places, lovely in limbs and lovely in eyes not his.”¹
Keep burning. We need to see you. I need to see you.
¹Hopkins, Gerard Manley. “As Kingfishers Catch Fire.”