I cherish darkness. I yearn, I ache, to be out in nature without lights invading from “civilization” reducing the darkness of nighttime, hiding glittering stars above.
And of course I fear darkness (and light), too. I fear what I hide in darkness—the memories that are too painful to experience again, the ache from losing a friend over an angry exchange, the truth that my days of active sexuality are changing, the times I have made a serious mistake that no one else saw and I want to keep it that way—all that stuff I don’t want to think about or share with others. You might call it my darkness closet.
That darkness lurks over my shoulder, in my unquiet mind, in my awareness and anxiety that I am not fully the wonderful person I want to believe I am, that I want the world to see.
So, I move in darkness quite a bit—not just when I go out at night or pre-dawn mornings to walk—because I carry it with and within me. There always is darkness in my day, not ruining my day but helping me be as fully aware as possible of who I am, what I am doing, whom I am with, my desires and goals, etc.
But there is more. I know that the world is keeping lots of beings locked away in dark places that the dominant culture (the culture of White supremacy and privilege) of this nation does not want us to think about. That includes
- devaluing BIPoC people, people of darker skin hues;
- devaluing women and gender non-conforming persons of all hues;
- devaluing nature, disregarding the wisdom of indigenous people who respect and treasure nature, not just as something pretty or interesting but as a source of wisdom for our living;
- putting profit ahead of an equitable society;
- heavily focuses on militarism and the use of force to control other people at home and abroad.
I, and all of us, move through humanly created darkness every day. Some days, maybe most days for many of us, this can feel like trying to move through mud, or climbing an endless hill, trudge, trudge, trudge, with no end in sight.
Don’t get me wrong: I have hope, too. And I am committed to doing what I can to change things, and to help others to do that, too.
But let me clear: I draw that hope as much from the darkness as the light. In my view, both are gifts from God and they work together in concert with God’s desire for wholeness for all beings.