One of my all time favorite books is entitled Reflections on Simplicity by Elaine Prevallet. Actually, it is a 28 page pamphlet. I have read it dozens of times and I am still trying to "get it"! (I highly recommend it; it is available through amazon.com).
One would think that in such a short booklet the author would get right down to the point. Well, Elaine, in her wisdom, begins by talking about what simplicity is NOT.
In a similar way, I am learning about Jesus' words "You are the light of the world....your light must shine before others, that they may see....and glorify your heavenly Father." (Mt 5: 14-16) That is, by walking in darkess, I am becoming more aware of the features of light.
Dawn and darkness come quickly here in the Peten without lengthy periods of pre-dawn or dusk. For most of the past month we have been working at the house in Santa Ana as night falls. The house, though now wired, has not been connected to the "electric grid" so we are literally in the dark at 6:00 pm. All of our light after that comes either from the moon or from two small solar lights that are like flashlights that are "set on a lampstand (or in our case, literally hung from the rafters), where (they give) light to all those in the house." (Mt 5:15)
Last night darkness fell quickly. I was aware that we needed to gather the four new baby chicks and their mother to protect them during the night from the creatures that would eat them in the chicken coop. But, once again, the darkness caught me by surprise. So after dark, in the rain, sloshing through the mud on rocky and cluttered ground with a single light, three of us were hunting for the chicken family. We found them hunched under the outdoor stove where we fished them out and gingerly walked back to the porch with them under our wings.
I walk very differently in the dark than I do when I am in the light. Do you? My pace is much slower, I am less steady, I am fully concentrating on where I am walking (rather than on why I might be walking there), and I am more fearful of what it is that I might be walking on or into (especially in the dark of night on the land in Guatemala!) If I had a choice, I probably would not walk in the darkness at all but would find a way to postpone the task at hand.
Because of electric lights and city living, it is unusual for us to be in complete darkness in a developed country. As Jesus said: "A city set on a mountain cannot be hidden." (Mt 5: 14).
But, how often do we walk as if we were, in fact, in darkness?
Words of a common song sung in our churches: "LIVE in the LIGHT!" come to my mind. We need to move forward with trust and surety because we have light....and even more, we have the light of faith that comes from knowing, believing and following Jesus, the one true LIght!
When do I walk as if in the dark? Why?
When do I walk in the Light? Why?
Sr. Pam Buganski
Sr. Pam joined SewHope as our first American Project Coordinator in 2012