I’ve been wide awake since 5:00am and I don’t really have to be up until 7:00. Over the last several weeks, I have had little sleep, lots of chaos, and more anxiety than I have felt in a long time. In the midst of all of that, I have also learned life-changing lessons, heard miraculous stories, and witnessed extreme brokenness.
Life is full of contrasts right now. The beautiful is met with hideous tragedy. Life collides with death. A major success or milestone seems to be jaded by one failure or another. If this were a race or competition of any sort, I certainly wouldn’t be winning.
In most of the books, movies, and shows I have absorbed over the years, I have learned one big lesson: good things happen in the light and bad things happen in the dark. Even young children know this. In the light, we think we are safe because we can see everything. In the dark, the unknown takes over and all of a sudden we are in danger.
But what if life just isn’t that black and white? As I listen to people tell their stories both in counseling and in the jail, I am learning that the world, and life itself, is so much more gray than I ever realized. Sure, there are still facts and truths that can be relied upon a categorized, but as long as life involves people, it will be unpredictable. Hope can occur in dark places. Evil can reside in the sunlight.
I’ve recently become hooked on the oh-so-popular show Stranger Things. I can’t help but notice how the contrast of light and darkness are used as they weave a mystery about what is happening in a small town. In the light of day, a mother loses her mind over her missing child. The darkness of The Upside Down is dotted with little lights that create a fairyland effect.
Too many times we search for what feels like it should be obvious – light is good, darkness is bad, and we are safe if we can just see everything. But what I am learning daily is that this just isn’t true. Life just isn’t that predictable. I can sit here, wide awake before the sun even rises, fearing all the things I cannot see and memorizing my calendar for the thousandth time, but that doesn’t change the fact that the best things – and maybe even the worst – will still surprise me.
I guess it isn’t about being able to see everything that is coming my way, but trusting that all things will work together for good regardless of my preparedness.