04 February 2020
Songs in the Darkness ~ Thrive in Place
Greetings Dear Reader,
Oh, I've seen the bottom and I've been on top
But mostly I've lived in between
We all have memories that bring a smile or bring a tear. There is pain and sorrow as well as joy in all of our lives. We have times where we are riding high. We have times that are dire and dark.
Most of our lives, however, are in the in-between. The long journey home is the long ribbon of road between the highs and lows. Too often, we fail to see that the long narrow path is where most of our living occurs. It is the space between the highs and lows that we must fill with work, leisure, and living that creates a life yielded to love and peace.
There is a combination of thoughts I would embrace here. Both are from Paul. The first is from his letter to the Philippians:
4: 10 I rejoiced greatly in the Lord that at last, you renewed your concern for me. Indeed, you were concerned, but you had no opportunity to show it. 11 I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances.
It is the last phrase that matters. Paul has found the power to be content no matter the circumstances. He was imprisoned, beaten, threatened, rejected, temporarily blind, and hated by his former colleagues. Whether poor or rich, happy or sad, Paul has learned to be content with how things unfold.
The second thought of his that I will join to this are his words to his young apprentice, Timothy. In his first letter to the younger man he writes.
6: 6 But godliness with contentment is great gain. 7 For we brought nothing into the world, and we can take nothing out of it. 8 But if we have food and clothing, we will be content with that.
If we see these two things in harmony then the in-between of life becomes a great opportunity. If I am going to be content where I am and love the Father will all that I am then that is how I gain. That is how the flat narrows of the journey become brilliant and bright. That is where we find that the bulk of our lives can have substance and meaning.
This is neither profound nor new. It is, however, vital. The peace that we need in the darkness is found in realizing that our fellow traveler, Christ is there in every individual moment. He is there to love us, guide us, and show us how that moment yields its own light. That light is within us to drive the darkness away, or better still teach us to be content in it.
We gain great freedom and power when we realize that it is not the darkness that is our enemy. It is our own discontent heart. It is failing to see that we do not travel alone for even an instant. If I practice the presence of Christ in the long narrow flats of the journey, I am prepared to find his presence in the dark valleys. I am ready to celebrate him on the mountain tops. I can learn to see him in every place in the in-between.
Carrying this with me at all times further allows me to share it with you, Dear Reader. It gives us a starting place to navigate whatever the matter is. It puts perspective on every moment of darkness and teaches us how to embrace the light. We gain ground every time we do this. We can carry our songs of hope in the darkness and learn together how to thrive in place. Shall we?
Wishing you joy in the journey,
(͡° ͜ʖ ͡°)
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