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When Life is the color of Gray



I like the sun.  I do.  Granted, most people probably enjoy it as much as me, but truly, the lack of it over the course of this winter has started a rumbling hunger in me for the bright warmth of the sun.

I consider my prime growing-up years to be the ones when I lived in Florida, so I guess all that sun I soaked up in the Sunshine State completely ruined me for the rest of my life. That’s a nice way of saying that this winter is hard on me.

Physically. Mentally.

You know how when you were a kid, and Christmas drew near? And magically Christmas presents – for you! – appeared under the tree? Do you remember the sheer joy you felt at seeing them there? How you got on your knees and gazed longingly at the colorful wrappings, maybe even picking up one or two presents to shake if no one was looking?

Well, that’s kind of the way I feel these days when I see a peek of sunshine. Actually, no, not kind of. I absolutely feel that way. When I see the sun, even if it’s just for 5 minutes, it’s like my whole world becomes a sparkly, rainbow-filled, goin’-to-Disney-World, I’d-like-to-buy-the-world-a-Coke kind of happy.

I don’t know if it’s been that way where you live, but it’s like a gray fog literally enveloped our little portion of the world about a month and a half ago, and has rarely lifted for more than a few hours at a time.

Not days, hours.

I don’t think we’ve had two consecutive days of sunshine from sunrise to sunset since around Thanksgiving. I’ve never given much thought to buying one of those SADD lights, but if this type of weather sticks around beyond the next few weeks, I might have to suck it up and invest in one.

Have you ever noticed that when the sky is gray, the brown, leafless trees and trampled, muddied grass tends to look, well, more gray too?  The colorless sky casts a shadow over the earth as well. I noticed it yesterday as I was driving, and the only hint of color came from the bright red barn illuminated in a sea of blah nothingness.  I noticed too that the headlights on my car, which come on automatically when the light is dim, had been on every single time I had driven in the past couple of days.

And I started thinking that we all just want light in our world.

“She’s a little ray of sunshine.”

“You light up my life.”

“A light bulb went off in my head.”

A guiding light…

Light a fire…

We tend to put a lot of emphasis on having light in our world.  And why wouldn’t we?  We need light for photosynthesis to work in plants, filtering down into the ocean for plants to thrive there as well.  We need light in cameras to capture an image correctly or even artistically.  And of course, we need light for its most basic function; it allows us to see so that we can go about the business of living.

My daughter spent two summers working in a cave as a tour guide.  Although there are electric lights rigged throughout to allow workers and visitors alike to see where they’re walking, there’s one particular “room” on the tour where the tour guide turns off the lights and one can experience total darkness for several seconds.  It’s always dramatic, and after a time, kind of uncomfortable in a way.  Part of the tour guide’s spiel is something to the effect that if your eyes remain in total darkness for a month, you will go blind from your eyes searching side to side, up and down, for the light.  Personally, I wondered about that.  I did some research, and the answer is, yes, kind of, one can go blind with “Miner’s Eye” if left in total darkness for an extended period of time.

However, once light is reintroduced to the eye, it will slowly adapt to the light again.  A person can only go blind if they’re living in darkness, and the darkness never ends.  But having light, well, we can see.

Sounds kind of metaphorical to me.  I’d hardly be the first to state the obvious: we are drawn to the light.  Like a new seedling stretching toward the sunlight it needs to grow, we humans are the same.  We can grow without His light and truth and grace and faithfulness, but like plants shielded from the sunlight, lacking vibrant color, and not reaching their full potential, we’re the same way.  We’ll unfurl our souls seeking…. something… but we’ll never truly be what we’re meant to be without Him.

I can get pretty philosophical sometimes, thinking things like this.  But I’m not so sure that God doesn’t use these times of darkness to make me a little introspective.  And usually when I look at myself, I see stunted growth.  The emptiness and the darkness.  So my only recourse is to look outward, toward the light.

Toward Him.

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