Are you grateful for the darkness?

Gratitude to God changes the game. An internal ache, a feeling of restlessness, a gnawing discontent – each can be immediately transformed when we pause in the midst of our distress, re-center, and refocus on the abundance that lies both inside our beings and throughout our world. Often we can be quick to see and say “thank you” for the obvious – rays of sunshine, financial provision, healthy kids, air conditioning…but what about those aspects of life that don’t exactly feel like blessings? Do they call for gratitude, as well?

Take, for instance, darkness. I don’t think I had ever directly thanked God for a lack of light before stumbling upon the following poem, which was adapted from an Anglican Litany prayed in Canterbury Cathedral on April 18, 1986. Rather than welcoming darkness, I have tended to view it as something to fear, to expel, or to avoid. Light feels warm and safe; dark, not so much.
And yet the Word says that through God’s eyes, dark and light are exactly alike. Trying to wrap my brain around that concept has brought little clarity, so I have instead chosen to settle into its mystery and wonder. Light = darkness. I do not understand, but still I can choose to praise.

For the Darkness

For the darkness of waiting
Of not knowing what is to come
Of staying ready and quiet and attentive,
We praise you, o God.

For the darkness and the light
Are both alike to you.

For the darkness of staying silent
For the terror of having nothing to say
And for the greater terror
Of needing to say nothing,
We praise you, o God.

For the darkness and the light
Are both alike to you.

For the darkness of loving
In which it is safe to surrender
To let go of our self-protection
And to stop holding back our desire,
We praise you, o God.

For the darkness and the light
Are both alike to you.

For the darkness of choosing
when you give us the moment
to speak, and act, and change,
and we cannot know what we have set in motion,
but we still have to take the risk,
We praise you, o God.

For the darkness and the light
Are both alike to you.

For the darkness of hoping
In a world which longs for you,
For the wrestling and the laboring of all creation
For wholeness and justice and freedom,
We praise you, o God.

For the darkness and the light
Are both alike to you.

Are you grateful for the darkness?

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