Another Sunrise

I had a blog post whirling around in my head after the Aurora shootings. I actually wrote out a post on a Starbucks napkin after Sandy Hook. For some reason or for many reasons, I never actually posted them up on my blog. But today, the day after the bombing at the finish line of the Boston Marathon, I had to write. First I had to run. I woke up to about 8 inches of fresh snow and 24 degree temps. On any other day at this stage of the game, that probably would have been enough to keep me inside. But I knew that I needed to run on this snowy morning. I needed love to win out in my heart over fear and anger. And the two spaces in which that most consistently happens are running and writing. Running seemed like the most fitting option for today.

Darkness still filled the sky when my alarm went off this morning. I stalled and snoozed, a little more so than usual. I finally talked myself into getting out of bed, throwing my running clothes on and strapping on my shoes, Yak Trax already attached. The air cold, my muscles still stiff from yesterday, I ran into the darkness.
Because, as Bruce Cockburn so aptly puts it, sometimes you “got to kick at the darkness ‘til it bleeds daylight.” So I kicked and I ran, and the light came as it always does each morning. It wasn’t even a full-on sunrise, not even close, more like a heavy, foggy, grey light, but it was light and light is the only thing that pushes out the darkness.

And so on my run, I was reminded of how we, or at least I fear the darkness, the ugliness, the messiness of this life and world in which we live. And often times all I want to do is run away from the darkness. But sometimes you can’t outrun the darkness. Just as if you were to run West in attempt to out-run the sunset, the darkness would still catch you, the sun would still set and darkness would eventually fall around you. But what if we were brave enough to turn around and run straight into the darkness with the light of love, like the many courageous individuals who turned around and ran back into the bomb site to help people yesterday? What if we were brave enough to face the darkness, to wrestle with it, and kick at it, knowing we would come out the other side into the light of the sunrise? Because no matter how dark, the sun does always rise. And being a believer in God, I hold fast to the belief that his mercies are indeed new every morning.

What does it look like to run into the darkness? Sometimes when I run in the dark, my headlamp seems like such a small light in the midst of such vast darkness. But it is light nonetheless. It lights my path and it is light enough for people around me to see it and hopefully not run me over. I believe that light comes in the form of love. I believe that a major way God expresses love is through people loving each other. I believe that no act of love is too small, for it still casts light in a dark world. And collectively, all those little acts of love make for some big, bright light. And that light chases the darkness away. Love wins. But love is messy sometimes. It might include acts of kindness, but I believe it goes beyond that, deeper than that. Love sometimes looks like stepping into someone’s messy life and just being there, shining light and hope. Love sometimes means saying the hard things and sometimes it's receiving the hard things said to you. Love sometimes means needing to let go of pride, anger, control, judgment. Love sometimes means admitting you’re wrong even when you want so badly to be right. Love sometimes means forgiving when everything in you wants to hold on to the hurt with an iron fist. Sometimes love means speaking and sometimes love means not saying anything at all, no matter how much you want to defend or defame. Love often means sacrifice, of one’s time, of one’s energy, of one’s needs, and perhaps even of one’s own safety as many brave ones demonstrated for us yesterday. Because life is messy, love has to be patient. It has to be. This is hard for me. Really, all of it is hard for me, really hard, all of the time.

But I don’t want to run from the darkness anymore. Because, like the sunset, it always catches up with me anyway. I want to run with the light of love head-on into the darkness and love hard with those around me until nothing but light remains. Who’s with me?