Last week I had to attend a regular monthly meeting in Glendale, and on a Thursday morning long before the dawning I headed south down the 101. I reached Oxnard and Camarillo just as the sun was rising over the eastern mountain ranges. As I eagerly anticipated the sun’s blazing appearance I kept my eyes fixed on the mountaintops and not the road ahead. And it was not without consequences. The sun rose slowly at first as a slither of light shimmering from beyond the dark and dreary mountains. Then more light and more light and then suddenly that amazing shiny ball of fire just glided out from behind the mountain lighting the whole world!
However, as quickly as it had risen in an instant, as I travelled south the sun disappeared as though it had never risen at all, reburied now behind a higher mountain peak. Isn’t life like that sometimes? We think our ship has come, our sun has risen, or our time of fulfillment is near — when suddenly things go in reverse or halt.
What can we do when our hearts long for something we need, and yet the sudden appearance of our dreams vanishes before our eyes? We have all been there in those seasons of disappointment and dread when we thought “the one” had finally come, only to have our hopes shattered and hearts broken by the disappearing loves. So where do we go when after a ray of light our world suddenly darkens?
I would like to suggest that we linger in the dark places — without fear. That we watch and we wait. Yet not that we substitute the darkness for the light, for we all absolutely know that the darkness is not the light! But I suggest that we linger there and that we wait in the pain and watch for what we know is real, what we know is beautiful, for what we know is absolutely right for us.
I did. That day along the 101 I kept my eyes on the mountaintops, fixed on the place where I had seen the sun before. Waiting, watching, and keeping hope alive that the sun would reappear. My wait was not without amazing reward. First, I need to remind you of where I was. I was driving south on the 101 during the early morning commute. Cars were darting in and out, and my watching was distracted by those inconsiderate drivers who speed up and move in and out of our lanes as if they are the only ones alive.
But suddenly there it was again — a second sunrise, but this time it burst forth from the darkness, bringing the real morning light. Different from sunsets, sunrises bring light directly to us; on our faces, in our hair, and on that day in and around me as I drove. In fact, that second morning sunrise bathed a whole section of the freeway with beautiful, glowing, shining, shimmering golden rays of light, and we all held our breath responding. We all just slowly reveled in the light, quietly, gently driving in straight lines with absolutely no one darting in or out. We all seemed to float and flow in that golden light, transcending space and time, with breathless beauty surrounding us, as we all were blessed.
Watch, wait in the darkness. The light will come again. I promise. Amen!
Akivah Northern is a certified Family Wellness Trainer and holds a Master in Divinity from Yale. Her biweekly column explores the deeper heart in all its dimensions. She welcomes heartfelt questions from readers of all ages at firstname.lastname@example.org.