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Befriending The Dark

The first time I came home to the cabin after dark and shut off my lights at the end of the long gravel driveway, I sat in dread.

This was a huge mistake.

There was no way I was going to walk from the car down the tiered steps through the tunnel of trees to the front door. Nope.

It was pitch black, coal black, not a drop of light black.

Perhaps the universe was sending me down a little joke, handing me a reflection of my life at that time.

I sat for long minutes in humorless terror before a heart pounding race to the door.

So why does darkness provoke fear and light provide safety? Why in spirituality do we equate the dark with evil and the light with goodness? Why do we dread the dark and race for the light?

Isn’t it possible that this dark night of my life was the most fertile ground I had ever walked upon?

In Learning to Walk in the Dark, Barbara Brown Taylor offers, “Here is the testimony of faith; darkness is not dark to God; the night is as bright as the day.”

Yes, darkness, too, can be fertile soil for the soul.

During this year, I allowed myself to not only tolerate, but to befriend my darkest stories.

I allowed myself to sit at the table with them.

I allowed myself to look into the eyes of losses and to see how they took me apart, how they washed me out, how they grew me back again, how they colored me in.

And I found that God was in the dark too, shining a light that could only be seen from within it, a lighthouse to the ship.

It's a precious place, really, if we can bear to anchor there for awhile.

Late last night, I rolled down the driveway and shut off my lights. I got out of the car, walked to the middle of the clearing and looked up.

The coal black served as a backdrop for a most glorious rendering of sparkling constellations.

There, under the North Star, I knew, for the first time in my life, that I was not afraid of the dark, and that within my darkness was also the face of love, the face of courage, the face of beauty, the face of faith.

In my darkness was also the face of God.


In The World:

  • When the dark asks for your attention, follow her to the table and see what secrets she imparts. Love her as part of you. Learn from her and treasure her wisdom. Thank her, and allow her to leave when she’s ready.

In The Heart:

  • I accept and love every part of myself, the dark and the light. I learn from the dark as I learn from the light.


There is no coming to consciousness without pain. People will do anything, no matter how absurd, in order to avoid facing their own Soul. One does not become enlightened by imagining figures of light, but by making the darkness conscious. —Carl Jung

The steps in the light of day, leading down from the driveway to the door.

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