I awoke this morning to a dismal and dreary scene. As I sat quietly in the dark, I watched it all unfold: stubborn beads of October rain furled at kitchen windows, colliding to their silent deaths by panes of glass. Hunched-over tree tops, bearing back with strong winds. Many more leaves are on the ground. So, from the safety of my dim abode, I sit- tenderly taking everything in with two hands cupped around coffee-filled mug (too weak, I note again; needs to be stronger still).
And then, I see him.
My attention averted back to indoor endeavors, he is spotted by my sleepy eyes. A small bug of sorts, he is hovering above the sink towards the ceiling, seeking out the only light source in the room- an incandescent bulb tucked away in the wall as a bear in a cave. I sit there, watching. Now that I have seen him, I can’t stop staring. My gaze for him is filled with pity and remorse. He’s so single-minded; all he wants is that light. And I can’t help but feel sympathy for him. He doesn’t understand how this obsession will consume him from the inside out; it will burn him alive, ruin him. I imagine his tired, tiny wings, so translucent. And I imagine the heat and the voltage of that light bulb.
He doesn’t stand a chance.
I look up, caught in wonder. His strange fascination with the light perplexes me. He is utterly relentless; in this dark and dreary room, his pursuit has become frantic and it is unnerving me. He flies at it headlong, like it’s his sole life source. But it’s too bright, it’s too strong…
I lose myself in my thoughts, and before I know it, he is gone. What a sad life, I think, to have it end in such a way.
Consumed by brightness.
And that’s when it clicks: I need to be more like this bug.
It seems this bug has known from the start what we have dulled to oblivion for so long to forget: Light is life. Light is goodness. Light is a pure and unstoppable force. By it, we see all things. Light is the fuel for hope. And once it is removed, we will go to great lengths to get it back, or go mad trying.
But we look for light in all the wrong places.
I can sense the weariness of a hundred separate souls when I step on a campus with students chasing after the light in alcohol, in grades, in one night stands. I can taste the hunger in a woman’s eyes when she thinks the light can be found in body image or in food control. And I can feel my own hands reach to grasp it when it comes in the form of love, in acceptance, in status or success. We run after the things that we believe will give us life and meaning. We sprint after them; the further they elude us, the faster we chase. If only I had a different job, more money. I need his love. Just five more pounds… We stretch out our fingers to catch the rays, closing our fists gently so they don’t get away. We open up our palms, empty.
What we think will bring us satisfaction turns out to be so fleeting; it leaves us emptier than before, still starving. So we go back again and again, trying to get our fill of life. Coming up empty once more. Just like the little bug, we fly anxiously towards our light source when the darkness closes in.
Or, we choose to remain lost in the oblivion. Hidden. Safe.
“Light has come into the world, but people loved darkness instead of light…”
We are all bugs, but we have been chasing the wrong light source.
“I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.”
It took me twenty-one years to notice. But, I have finally learned to chase the Light that lets itself be caught by my desperate hands. This Light is Jesus, the true light of the world, the one who shines as a beacon to the lost. The one who welcomes sinners, like me. I spent so many years seeking the lesser glow from pseudo light sources, I could weep. Yet, I can feel it in my soul that all my chasing has led me here. To him. To the Light that won’t go out.
I know that if I linger in His presence, His glow will consume me. Just like a good lover, He wants to hold my whole heart and all my wandering attentions. And, I know I face a million little deaths to self if I remain in this Light more powerful than I. Like the little bug, I will destroyed by brilliance. Yet, I fly towards Him laboriously, knowing there to be no one else who could hold my affections so safely. Jesus, who put an end to the consequence of all my sin; the One who came for me when I was caught in rebellion.
I pray: give us eyes that resolutely look for Light.
Tell me, where is your light source, to where do you run? Darling, where is your life? As a tree cannot be sustained until it finds the true sun, your life cannot grow if it is subjected to counterfeit lights. Plant your life so it can catch the rays of a greater Sun:
“Then the angel showed me the river of the water of life, as clear as crystal, flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb down the middle of the great street of the city. On each side of the river stood the tree of life, bearing twelve crops of fruit, yielding its fruit every month. And the leaves of the tree are for the healing of the nations. No longer will there be any curse. The throne of God and of the Lamb will be in the city, and his servants will serve him. They will see his face, and his name will be on their foreheads.
There will be no more night. They will not need the light of a lamp or the light of the sun, for the Lord God will give them light. And they will reign for ever and ever.”
referenced scripture: John 3:19, John 8:12, Revelation 22:1-5
you find my cute mug, amongst many others, at Target.