Send me your light and faithful care, let them lead me" Psalm 43:3
“I learned something important from my puppy,” a woman told me earlier this week. I was curious to hear what she would say. I knew she had been going through a hard time. Her son died before Covid. She is a healthcare worker so the demands of her job and all that the past couple years have brought into her life could be overwhelming.
Dogs have always been a part of her family. In fact, her son used to joke around with her about her love for dogs saying if he ever died, he would like to come back as one of her dogs. She shared that those words sometimes came back to her. As she tried to deal with the loss of her son and then the reality of Covid, she decided to get a puppy. She quickly learned that the puppy was crazy and impulsive, an accident ready to happen at any time in her house. It was not what she was expecting. At first she ended up doing battle with her puppy as she tried to bring back some sense of decorum to her home and train him to do the right thing. It wasn’t working. Then she decided to try to look at things from her puppy’s perspective. It changed everything. As she came to terms with her puppy, also started to come to terms with her son’s death. It was as if she began to see a way to find light in the darkness.
As I thought about what she said, I saw those places in my life where it feels like I am in the dark. We all have times when we feel like we are in the dark — times when we are not sure where to go or what to do. Times when things don’t go as expected. We want to move beyond darkness to light. We want days of ease not pain. We want peace not suffering. We want clarity not confusion. Things start to feel all wrong and we want them right again.
I recently heard Erwin McManus share a important lesson he has learned. He pointed out that the religious leaders of Jesus’ day were always wanting to know who he was and what he believed. Was he doing the right thing? Was it right to heal on the Sabbath? Was it right to proclaim forgiveness of sins? The Pharisees said you have to choose between right and wrong, good and evil. For them, it became a moralistic dilemma — who’s more right or wrong. Jesus seems to come up with a new category. He is not tempted by evil or swayed to do what is wrong. McManus says that Jesus invites us to see what is right and good because he is good. With Jesus, one can be a sinner and be saved. With Jesus, one can be poor and rich or weak and strong.
Writer Barbara Brown Taylor says, “During the day it is hard to remember that all the stars in the sky are out there all the time, even when I am too blinded by the sun to see them.” If today feels challenging, remember the light is still there in the darkness.
“Send me your light and faithful care, let them lead me”