I AM A NIGHT OWL. I love the dark hours. Periodically I work on going to bed earlier, but it feels like entering alien territory, trying to make sense of a landscape and a language that I have a hard time fathoming. A friend, knowing my dark ways, once asked me, “So what do you do at night?” . . . “I read,” I told him, “or perhaps write, or pray, or soak up the quiet, or unwind in front of the TV.” I take time to gather up the threads of the day; it is a period in which interruptions are rare and intrusions are few, a space where my soul can catch up with me. . . .
Perhaps because my path in life has taken some unusual turns, I have become fairly adept at living with a sense of unknowing. I have had plenty of occasion to develop skills that help keep me grounded as the conundrums of my life unfold. . . .
It is one thing to live with the mysteries that attend our human lives, to enter into the rhythms of the sometimes strange ways that God works with us. The older I get, the more I think of God as the Ancient of Days, the Holy One of the Long Haul, who seems so deeply fond of working things out over vast expanses of time. This aspect of God calls us to trust, to step out without seeing what’s ahead.
It is another thing, however, to allow the shadows to enthrall us. Mystery has its own enchantments; without spiritual practices and habits of discernment to ground us, those enchantments can lull us into becoming overly comfortable with the shadows and the places of unknowing that we find in our journeys. If I’m willing to live in a ceaseless process of discernment that never leads to action, if I cannot see a place of brokenness in my own soul or in the soul of the world, then I don’t have to do anything about it. That’s called denial.
May you have the courage
to turn your face to the God
who meets you in darkness
and in daylight.
– Jan L. Richardson
In the Sanctuary of Women
From pages 195-197 of In the Sanctuary of Women: A Companion for Reflection & Prayer by Jan L. Richardson. Copyright © 2010 by Jan L. Richardson. All rights reserved. Used by permission of Upper Room Books. http://bookstore.upperroom.org/ Learn more about or purchase this book.
Pray today’s blessing. Share your thoughts.
Have they no knowledge, all the evildoers who eat up my people as they eat bread, and do not call upon the LORD?
Psalm 14:4 NRSV
This Week: pray for the mind of Christ. Submit your prayer to The Upper Room Living Prayer Center or share it in the comment section.
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This week we remember: Mary Magdalene (July 22).
(Courtesy of Vanderbilt Divinity Library)
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