The Dark

“To know the dark, go dark. Go without sight, and find that the dark, too, blooms and sings.” – Wendell Berry

New life starts in the dark. I read these words Saturday morning (6/16). Before the fever. Before another trip to the ER. Before “code sepsis” would be announced in reference to my child. Before another admission for a serious blood infection would ensue. I read them in a rare moment of silence, with a like-it-or-not deep seeded awareness.

New life cannot be separated from darkness. As Barbara Brown Taylor writes, “Whether it is a seed, a baby in the womb, or Jesus in the tomb, life starts in the dark.”

I read these words, and they felt like good news.

We have lived this reality with our boys. Making space for healing and new life has required the boys’ bone marrow to die. It was killed by potent chemicals put into their bodies. Sickled cells that were causing so much pain and destruction needed to die so that new, healthy ones would have room to grow. Months and months of darkness and waiting would follow… We have waited with the hope and prayer that new life was going to be found. Breathed.  Formed.  And lived.

The further we have ventured, the more I realize the “new life” is, thankfully, not only for them. I sense pieces of myself evolving – parts are dying while others are coming to life. I am no longer just trying to get through the pain or the treatment of this season. I am learning to notice simple things in the dark. I am learning to be gracious with myself. Recently, after another all-nighter at the hospital, I came home and took a short nap. When I woke up, I knew there many things to done and thought: I feel so lazy. After a brief pause, I corrected myself: No, it’s not lazy – I am exhausted. In many ways, our whole family is recovering from months and months of darkness. We are all needing to be tender with one another.

Last Wednesday, as we were making our way home from the hospital, I was sitting beside Geoffrey. He had been in room 3535 for another five days. But as we drove, he looked up to the sky and took in the warmth of the sun. With delight, as the picture so beautifully tells, he said: “the sun is following us.”

Coming from the dark helps us to notice such things.



3 thoughts on “The Dark

  1. Thank you, friend. This reminds me of how slowly, gently, a butterfly or moth must emerge from the cocoon, smashing and crushing itself through the narrow opening, shoving blood into the vessels in the wings. There is no freedom without that pain, pressure, and patience. No shortcuts to newness. Love that smile and that perspective. Priceless.


  2. Love this and love you! I have learned so much over the years about seeing God in the dark. It makes me think of Jan Richardson’s book called the Night Visions – she has some great thoughts in there about that idea. Here’s a blog post/poem she wrote about it:


    » Advent 1: A Blessing for Traveling in the Dark The … It was the second day of Advent when my husband Gary died, almost two years ago now. In the time that has unfolded since then, never have I had such a keen sense of the ways that light and dark dwell together, and how grace imbues the places that are most laden with shadows and unfathomable mystery …



  3. ‘People are like stained – glass windows. They sparkle and shine when the sun is out, but when the darkness sets in, their true beauty is revealed only if there is a light from within.’ By Elisabeth Kubler-Ross

    Sent from my iPad



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