Saturday, December 15, 2012

A candle in the darkness

Old habits die hard: my first response on hearing of the tragic shooting in Connecticut was to want to go to church.

So I did, even though I only had half an hour before my oven timer would go off (when the tough need comfort, the tough start cooking).  There was no one in the sanctuary, but there were candles everywhere, some lit, some ready to be lit, and so I lit one and knelt there, just trying to soothe the broken heart.

When it came time to leave, I found myself stopping at the Bible on the way out -- perhaps because I'd had a conversation earlier in the week about what we used to call "Bible Bingo" -- the practice of opening the Bible to a random place to see what advice it might have to give for a current situation.

So I paused to open it, hoping for some words of ... I don’t know... Solace? Something. But what did it open to? Page 1 of the book of Job.

So I’m reading along through Job's litany of disasters, and I get to the part about Job's children being destroyed (seems relevant, right?) And the very next words are:

"Then Job arose and tore his robe and shaved his head and fell on the ground and worshiped.  And he said, 'Naked I came from my mother’s womb, and naked shall I return. The LORD gave, and the LORD has taken away; blessed be the name of the LORD.' "

I could certainly identify: I wanted to tear my robes, too.  And I'd just fallen to my knees.  But damn.  That last line is a kicker; was NOT really what I wanted to hear.  I get the theology of it, but sometimes theology just isn't enough.

Now don't get me wrong: I'm grateful the church was open when I needed it: it helped me feel less alone.  And I'm grateful for the simple act of lighting a candle.  But it's not dispelling the darkness for me right now. 

And I think that's all okay.  Sometimes the loss is just so senseless that you cannot help but shake your fist at whatever that is out there that lets stuff like this happen.

And then you kneel in the darkness and light another candle.  It's not hope, really. 
But it looks like it. 
Maybe a little.

PS: If you wish to light a candle in company for the people of Newtown, you can do so at  The site itself is not that appealing, but once you click on the link to candle-lighting the process is quite lovely...

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