An Invitation to See In the Dark

A prayerful dance with paint during Holy Week to reimagine the story of black and darkness.

Shady black rolls into town —
comes as stripes of darkness
that infiltrate the space
This story begins with the line,
“On a dark and stormy night,”
it’s an ancient story told —
one you may have heard before
with death as a central point

When this thread is told,
a cloak of grief descends,
a dappled blue fog of sadness hangs,
may even lure one toward
a grim alleyway of lostness
where black is on trial

Of all the hues, you see—
black is the edgy one
it’s identity has been up in the air for some time
— is it all pigments mixed together
or the absence of light?

this confusion has turned black into
a color to fear, associated with
the bad guys,
the gothic girls,
the angel of death

Really, take a moment to view
this inky hue in a thesaurus and
you’ll find the associations morbid

Now is the time to recover coal
from it’s sordid reputation

Where can we go to
learn of such treasures of soot?
There is one who is known
as the Black Madonna —
she whose presence invites us to
sit with the unknowable mystery of the Divine—
she weaves wisdom of the earth
and calls us to navigate our depths
only the courageous seek her for

for even she has been whitewashed,
her story a bleached tale of candle smoke,

It’s as if, for ages,
humans have been pressed
to see darkness as evil
to narrow focus to all light,
speaking “God is good,”
In this we ignore the grief,
delete the pain and the woman it took
to birth the child

Isn’t it the deep abyss —
the womb where life begins,
and the rich tiers
of clay, sand and soil below our feet
that hold secrets for how
seeds burst forth their beauty.

Now is the time
to recover black from it’s sordid reputation
to hear the tales it carries

So we take a seat and wait in the night.
The lights are off. Technology is on delay.
Soul quiets. Mind plays games.
Heart pleads.
Feels like nothing is happening here
in this smoky space.

Black drips like honey —
a drizzle to ask us to slow our judgements
of those we perceive as doing evil,
and stretch our fingers toward
the hearts of ourselves
and those who stand beside us
to see the spark within and around us

Slowly, the gifts of darkness arise,
it takes fortitude to hold on —
in this faded ebony rest,
a visitor may knock on our door—
to shift the furniture of our soul

Even as the shine emerges,
a veil falls over the sheen
to remind us that life isn’t linear —
but a spiral of experience that
invites us into the great dance

In this twirling —

Do we reach for the Parent of sacred compassion?
Mother, see me, nurture me, guide me?

Do we reach for the Parent of sacred grace?
Father forgive them, they know not what they do.

When we stroll with the black cat,
and hear her purr —
the categories of good and bad dissolve,
shadows and light play together —
senses waken to the running water
in the cave of experience.

we may even hear owl hoot a wisdom song,
or see bioluminescence glitter upon the sea
stars flicker in the galaxy

the black of night teaches
that death doesn’t have the last say

Even as the condemnation comes
there is a rainbow that exists,
falling in love is alive —
colors are being asked for their release from categories,
inviting you and I
to ask questions of a bigger story happening

When worry arrives at our door at midnight,
we make the choice to poor a cup of tea
and have a candlelit conversation
then, we lay out a pillow and say,
There, there —
and open a room of rest for worry to dream.
This imagination takes us through a portal that
shifts our way of seeing.

new ground begins to form
roots deepen into the earth
words escape our explanation —
we are silenced into becoming
from this place of heart
a sturdiness grows,
a new trunk forms;
our branches stretch
we reach out to share
about the dark night
Yes, there were moments that were scary —
still, in the mix of light and dark
growth took hold
the seed of our being cracked open
colorful fruit becomes reality

No, we aren’t alone —
others have gone through strife.
The sun comes out again to
fills in the crevices and
warm the cracks.
The moon glows down
to remind us of the gift
of night

Now, we stand in a grove with others.
We are the co-creators
blowing our breeze,
integrating our experience
into the weave of life—
we have encountered Divine Love
and get to take part in
the Queendom of earth.

the world is woven with both dark and light
and what we thought looked like death
is actually the tree of life in our path,
our eyes being born again so that we may
see the life that stands before us.