light – noun | \ˈlīt\
: the form of energy that makes it possible to see things
: the brightness produced by the sun, by fire, a lamp, etc.
On Saturday, Steve and I spent most of the day visiting family. We climbed into the Honda Accord around 7 a.m. Saturday, and after a stop at Starbucks for drinks and breakfast sandwiches, we headed South and West for multiple stops.
When we left the house, the sky was still covered with a thick blue haze, but the further we drove, the morning sky lit up brightly. By the time we drove home later that afternoon, it was a record-breaking weather day, with temperatures reaching the 70s on February 20. Almost unheard of in Indiana.
One of our stops that day was my mom’s house, where I was going to help her hand new curtains. The current drapes were ones that came with the house when she bought it a year and a half ago. They were thick and long and drapey. They consisted of alternating panels of rich violet and antique white with a floral print, covered at the top with a similarly drapey valance, also in the floral print. Mom likes the curtains, but she was ready for a change.
With me on the step ladder and Mom standing on the floor, we tackled one window at a time: first, taking down the valance, then pulling the rod apart and pulling off the panels. After a quick swipe with a dusting cloth, we carefully loaded on the new khaki curtains, made of textured fabric and backed with blackout fabric. The new panels slid on easily with their large silver grommets, and as a result would be easy to open and close each day. We kept them open, as one after another we replaced each set of curtains.
By the time we finished, we had accumulated a large pile of violet and cream panels and a living room and dining room full of light.
“Look how bright it is in here,” I commented. “You’re going to love the light.”
“it lets the sunshine in,” my mom said. “It’s so bright and sunny today.”
“It’s so much lighter than it was,” Steve added.
“This will be good for your spirit,” I said, actually meaning that bright sunny light is good for my spirit.
Here’s what didn’t change that day: the inside of the room or the outside of the room. The only thing that changed was how much light was shining in. And that light made all the difference.
Years ago during college, some friends and I took a road trip to Chicago. While we were there, we got tickets for a local theater show called “Too Much Light Makes the Baby Go Blind” by an edgy drama troupe known as the Neofuturists. The show had been running for three or four years at that time, though now it’s been running consecutively for more than 25 years.
The show is unique in that it’s actually 30 small plays performed in 60 minutes. Some of them are shocking, some sentimental. Their only claim is that “these plays … are performed from a perspective of absolute honesty.”
As a sheltered Christian college student, I admit to being shocked by some of what they called “honesty.” And I wondered about that title, “Too Much Light Makes the Baby Go Blind.” Were they talking about the kind of injury a child sustains by looking directly at the sun? Then I read a book back in the late 90s about conflict resolution that used the concepts of “light” in the head and “heat” in the heart to describe knowledge and passion, and I thought back to the Neofuturists and kind of light their show purported to offer.
Light is truth. Sometimes nothing changes on the inside or the outside — the circumstances of our life or the circumstances of the world around us — but suddenly we see differently, and the truth changes our perspective.
Maybe that’s why we enter the Lenten season surrounded by darkness, and by the time Spring comes and Easter is here and a new season emerges, we are bathed in light. Because during Lent, if we take the time to listen and see differently, we find the truth. The truth about who we are; the truth about who God is. The truth about the world around us. And life keeps on going just as it was, but we are changed by the truth, by the light.
Yesterday, my cousin commented on my Facebook page that there is a “light at the end of the tunnel” when it comes to spring arriving. I thought about what a little bit of light that is when it’s all the way at the end of a tunnel. But maybe that pinprick of light is where we start. Maybe it’s all we need or can handle at first. Otherwise, the baby might go blind.
What’s YOUR word of the week? Drop it into the comments section, or share it on this week’s Facebook post. If you post about your word on your blog, please slip the link into a comment below so I can stop by and join you.
Photo by Patrick Fore via Unsplash. Definitions of my word of the week are from Merriam-Webster Dictionary Online.