In the beginning there was darkness.
That’s always how the stories begin.
It starts right there at the bedside of your father as he takes his last breath. It starts at the wheel of your car, eyes blinded with tears, wondering how you’re going to tell your wife that you lost your job. It starts when you missed the electric payment for the second time in a row and the lights click off. It starts right there.
We’ve all been under the misconception that the darkness is where it all ends. That the light dims, the sun sinks behind the earth, the chill comes, and it’s over. It certainly feels over at times, doesn’t it?
But in the beginning there was darkness—even for God.
And how often we forget.
Just a few years ago after my Dad passed away, I told myself the darkness would never be blacker. And in many ways I agree it’s never gotten so dark again. But like every life, I’ve seen my share of the night. 2016 brought a slew of shade and I still find myself reeling over the crippling effects of it. From a divorce to terrible financial burdens to watching people I love suffer to taking hits to my self-worth and having moments of complete agony on my knees as I wonder how to even rebuild my life or keep steady when the storms pummel away at me and rock my foundation and my faith, I have screamed into the night—I have felt the darkness I felt at my Dad’s bedside all over again in a different way that took new forms. I have searched for stars to find only clouds at times. I have wondered where my friends are, where my path is, and why my eyes can’t adjust. I have begged for daybreak, just like you have.
I think there is something to be learned within the darkness.
I don’t think it’s a coincidence that before this beautiful earth was created, before the Heavens were dotted with stars and before the mountains formed from the seas and before our hearts even started to beat—the creator of all began in utter darkness, surrounded by nothingness. A God who is all knowing, all loving, a supreme being with all knowledge and wisdom and foresight—still began with the absence of light. “Let there be light!” we quote, remembering that the sun rose and it all began. We remember that part.
But actually, the beginning went more like this: “In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth. And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep.”
That’s really how it all began.
And that’s how you’re going to begin too.
Right where you’re at, grappling for a foothold, tears like rain. This is your beginning.
I think we too often forget where we’ve come from and what we’ve had to endure in our lives to get to where we’re at. We don’t owe ourselves enough credit to remind ourselves that we’ve always survived and that we’ve chosen time and time again to keep going anyway. To keep loving anyway. To get out of bed anyway. To keep believing and to keep moving forward anyway, even when we have no idea whatsoever where we’re going or what we might bump into. You’re still here simply because you have a trait of the creator in you that believes you can still make something out of nothing. And you always do.
The other day during a rough time where I felt like literally all of my prayers were falling on deaf ears—I stumbled across a quote that simply stated, “Light thinks it travels faster than anything but it is wrong. No matter how fast the light travels, it finds the darkness has always gotten there first, and is waiting for it.”
And so, I find you here in the darkness, friend. Wherever you are tonight. This is why I write, as my heart is a little heavy myself and I think there’s something to be said for recognizing that we’re all fellow travelers who are in it together.
I find you in your mound of bills and in your mountain of heartache. I find you crying in your closet and smiling in a crowded room with a pounding and aching heart. I find you lost after turning away from a faith you loved so long and I find you rejected from a love you thought was certain. I find you with your grim medical prognosis and I find you without a friend. I find you, right where you’re at and I join you in the darkness that we all find ourselves in from time to time, even when we’re certain that we’re absolutely alone. I find you there tonight and I hope you know that because God stood alone in utter darkness, we never will have to. We’re in it together, making our way and guessing our steps and waiting for the sun.
I’m a lover of light. As a photographer, as a woman in love with beauty and life, as a future mother and as a significant other and daughter and sister and friend—light has brought me so very much to be thankful for and I see it all as art. Light is what I most love about this world of ours. But I know why.
I know it’s only because I’m well acquainted with the dark.