The gifts of darkness

January 17, 2011

I am tired of hearing the constant exhortation to move away from darkness towards the light – in church, at work, in the media.  The metaphor is a deeply ingrained one and, as a white person, I have to ask who does this metaphor most serve? We have been given multiple negative images about “the dark” and taught to fear it, control it, and avoid it. Oh, and yes we have been taught to fear, control, and avoid people whose skin color is dark.

Listen to part of a prayer from worship this morning:

We confess that even as your light comes to us, there are times we have loved darkness rather than light

I confess with no apology.  There are times I have loved darkness and for that I am grateful.

I love the mystery that lives in the darkness and invites me to stillness, to wonder, to creativity.  I celebrate the darkness of the womb that nurtures and bears life. I honor the chaos and uncertainty that exists when I am “in the dark” for it teaches me to trust the unfolding of the universe and give up my illusions of control. I am thankful that darkness can lower my defenses so I am vulnerable and open to new ways of understanding.

I am inspired by the darkness of mother earth teeming with life season after season. I respect the winter days that hold more darkness because they slow my frenetic pace and reconnect me to the cycles of creation.

Too often, I have failed to see the goodness in darkness because of my racism and my fear of the unknown.

Our language has multiple ways to describe tragedies, loss and grief, difficult journeys, and transformation. I refuse to reinforce the oppositional and hierarchical usage of light and dark.

Too many people have suffered because we have equated darkness with evil.  Enter darkness into google images and see how our culture views the dark.

It is time to reclaim the gifts of the darkness and begin to heal the artificial lines we have created to divide us.

He who passively accepts evil is as much involved in it as he who helps to perpetrate it. He who accepts evil without protesting against it is really cooperating with it.
Martin Luther King, Jr.

(Photo from Flickr from Gwynned).


  1. This is a beautiful post, Diane.

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