neon pants, lectio divina & a funeral, all in the same breath.

Sometimes I forget how much I love the light.

For instance, take the current living room situation: I sit atop a neon green yoga ball typing. Neon orange work out pants cover my bum and neon pink Asics still adorn my feet from an hour at the gym this morning. You could say I have a problem with neon, in which I would respond, that yes, that’s probably true – but I am so glad All These Colors have resurrected themselves from the late 80’s and decided to pay me a visit. 

But the truth is this: I dress myself in light because it speaks to my insides. It somehow makes me feel a little happier and a little lighter and little more upbeat than a dreary all-black get-up.

But it’s easy for me to forget that we don’t live in a Rainbow Brite world.

Darkness and sadness and hard things do exist, mingling and moving, swerving and crashing into the light.

— 

On Saturday morning, I sat with a few friends of the heart. We try and gather on a monthly basis to eat pastries and drink hot beverages and catch up on one another’s lives. Then, when it’s time – when the inevitable pause emerges in conversation and each of us seems to know that it’s time to cease chatter and close our eyes – we enter into lectio divina.

We close our eyes and we pause.

We breathe in and out stillness, quietness, peace.

We seek to stop the ceaseless chatter that tends to steam roll its way from mind to heart to fingertips and toes and belly buttons, overwhelming and consuming The Present and What Could Be. 

We listen and we sit still. We whisper words of hope heavenward and we grab an arm in comfort.

And then, inevitably, as always happens, somehow the Enneagram makes its way into one conversation or another. Micha is a Four, and she always feels the feels, we say. She has a thing for darkness, and she embraces it with every part of her being. Me, I’m a Seven, even though I don’t always want to be. At my best, I’m fun-loving and light-filled, an optimist to the core and an utter delight to be around.

Obviously.

But I tend to run from darkness, always.

When Life isn’t pretty, when darkness or sadness or death enters my world, my natural tendency is to flee. Beauty, I say, over and over again, is found in the most unlikely of places – but if I’m honest, I’d just like for it to exist in the happy places.

We are resurrection people, after all. So why dwell in darkness? 

But Beauty, I’m learning, does exist in the most unlikely of places, including (and maybe even more than) those places that are light-filled. Beauty needs darkness to make itself known, to shine that much brighter, to help us realize that we aren’t resurrection people without being cross people first.

That morning, as I sat with these intimates, I told them about a memorial service I’d attended the afternoon before: Death wasn’t supposed to happen, at least not to her, not to a twenty-two year old girl. Her graduating class from high school wasn’t supposed to find their first reunion at funeral home in Belmont, and her family wasn’t supposed to expect death from a routine appendectomy.

As I sat in the very last row on Friday, I shook my head in disbelief – at the absurdity of her death, the shock of whys my only response. 

I struggled to agree with the pastor’s premise that God needed her more than we did here on earth, that this day was a celebration, a celebration indeed! Can I get an amen?

No one responded to his charismatic call. No one gave him his asked-for amen.

I struggled to see God – to see Beauty and Light and Peace – in the midst of Cristin’s memorial service.

But on Saturday morning I was reminded of Christ’s presence – that even if there’s not an answer to our whys, Christ is still there, in darkness just as much as in light.

It’s a with.

Christ with us: Even if it’s not the answer I want, it’s the answer I have. 

So, sweet Cristin, rest with him.

RIP Cristin Padilla, second from left.
RIP Cristin Padilla, second from left.

Life: it sure is hard sometimes, isn’t it? How are you at embracing the dark? Would you rather make a celebration of light, always? In this with you. 

6 thoughts on “neon pants, lectio divina & a funeral, all in the same breath.

  1. As I read, I kept thinking of Psalm 139 and how He is in all of the light and dark places: “7 Where can I go from your Spirit? Where can I flee from your presence? 8 If I go up to the heavens, you are there; if I make my bed in the depths, you are there…11 If I say, ‘Surely the darkness will hide me and the light become night around me,’ 12 even the darkness will not be dark to you; the night will shine like the day, for darkness is as light to you.”

  2. When my opa was dying a few years ago, I was spending some time with Psalm 23. The Lord is my shepherd. . . I hadn’t noticed until then that it goes from third person to first person when he walks through the valley of the shadow of death. “I will fear no evil because you are with me.” That seems so significant. Praying you and your friend’s loved ones continue to experience the with-me-ness of God.

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