We are not only conscious of it, but every one of our senses are aware of it. Of a pervasive unlit-ness; of this present and infiltrating Cimmerian darkness. It is recognized even as we look out our window: at the ugly rotting leaves or the tilting dying Oak, or the graffiti which mars the wall. We hear it on the streets: crude language, horrible patois, the distortion of canon, the misuse of beautiful words-- the misuse of beautiful meaning. It is shockingly visible everywhere, especially promulgated through media: slandering, the absence of Truth, the lack of peace, abortion, death, the abuse of sex and sexuality, war, nihilism, murder, thievery, greed and the obsession of self. This darkness is everything that beauty and light isn't. It is everything that goodness and purity is not. It is an epidemic; a raging flood. It's something we don't like to acknowledge very often. Because it terrifies.

[We are] afraid of the dark-- not afraid to go up the stairs in the physical darkness of night, but afraid of the shadows of another kind of dark, the darkness of nothingness, of hate, of evil.

So we rush around trying to light candles. Some are real: books are candles for me; so is music; so is friendship. Others blow up in our faces, like too much alcohol and too many sleeping pills or pep pills. Or hard drugs. Or sex where there isn't any love.

I think it was Toynbee who said that we are a sick society because we have refused to accept death and infinity. Our funeral practices open themselves up to satire, but they are only symptom. There's an insurance commercial on the radio which says, "if something should happen to you," with the implication that without some unforeseen accident of course you'll never die. (L'Engle)

For me, my candles are books and music as well. But a greater light illuminates this great darkness for me, and my shuddering is less for my security is strong:
"Since the children have flesh and blood, he too shared in their humanity so that by his death he might destroy him who holds the power of death—that is, the devil—and free those who all their lives were held in slavery by their fear of death." (Hebrews 2:14-15)
Sometimes I still find it desperately, nearly impossible to live with such havoc and distortion of peace and love and ravaging the world. But I know that this darkness creates in us a search for purpose and meaning in the midst of it. I think it was Carl Jung who said, "Death is psychologically as important as birth. Shrinking away from it is something unhealthy and abnormal which robs the second half of life of its purpose." Death and dying and darkness and fear-- these shadows prove to us that there really is light.
"The people living in darkness have seen a great light; on those living in the land of the shadow of death a light has dawned." (Matthew 4:16)

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