I wondered if I’d make it home before it rained as I strolled our baby as quickly as possible towards home. The dark clouds loomed heavy and foreboding, matching the heaviness in my heart.
The world feels sad to me as one tragic news story is replaced by another seemingly within moments. We haven’t the time to grieve one tragedy before there’s another and then another. We don’t even have to look to the news to see the discouraging state of things; we can also look around our lives or those of our friends or family.
Hospitalizations. Sickness. Death of loved ones. Death of dreams. Divorce. Financial crisis. Darkness isn’t hard to find nor hard to see.
Sometimes it sits murky and stagnant.
Sometimes it swirls angrily.
Always it’s there.
It was 2018 and I walked into the emergency room of that South Georgia hospital unsure of what I’d find. A few hours earlier, my cousin had called to say my mom was at the hospital. During the five hour drive down, the doctor called—leukemia. The next few hours and days were critical.
I was standing there at the door to the intensive care unit when my eyes caught hers. She was young, probably in her early twenties, a nurse’s badge hooked to her jacket. I’m not sure what she saw when she looked at me, but she walked over to where I was standing and with a kind smile asked, “May I give you a hug? Would that be okay? You look like you could use one.”
I was in my twenties and going through one of the most difficult periods of my life. I sat down on the sofa, a sofa I’d been sitting on once a week for several weeks at that point. She asked me how my week had been, and I burst into tears, dropping my face into my hands.
We weren’t friends. She was a pastoral counselor at a church I’d been attending when my carefully planned out life began to fall apart. She stood up from her chair, walked the few steps it took to get to the sofa, and with eyes filled with compassion she sat down enveloping me in a hug.
I could go on. I could tell you of the sweet friend who drove me to the hospital when I was diagnosed with postpartum preeclampsia.
I could tell you of the meals our church family brought us in the weeks to follow.
I could tell you about the lady in line behind me at the grocery store who paid for two of my items I’d accidentally left in my cart while trying to wrangle two kids and a cart of groceries. By the time I realized I hadn’t paid for those, this sweet woman was already checking out. Instead of me having to get back in line she bought them for me—a perfect stranger.
I could tell you of the sweet text of encouragement I received recently from a friend. Or the kind couple who bought our family pizza on a random Tuesday so we wouldn’t have to cook. Or the beautiful and meaningful gift someone gave me recently just to remind me that I am seen and loved.
I made it home before the rain. But as I glanced up one final time I couldn’t help but notice something exceptional. There amidst the bleak, heavy darkness, it shone brightly…
As long as we live on this earth the darkness will be with us. But so will the light because the light of Jesus will never be extinguished.
Look for it.
Point others to it…point others to Him.