By Sister Patricia Burkard
For most of us, Lent is a time of penance and a personal reshaping of our lives for good. But this year our lives are being reshaped by the world-wide force known as the Coronavirus. Everyone is experiencing fallout from the pandemic which has decidedly impacted our daily schedules, our ability to move freely, and has required that we learn how to keep up relationships from at least six feet away.
Daily news reports can have a sinister, fearful, and terrifying effect on us, so much that sooner or later, we need to determine how much we will allow this topic to impact our psyches.
These world events moved me to “Find the light” in these moments of darkness. I reached back into my memory to a spectacular experience of light strong enough to overcome darkness. The experience took place years ago in the Colorado Rockies. The group I was with on a warm summer night ventured high up into the mountains. We were greeted by a gazillion stars overhead that literally enfolded us in God’s splendor and beauty that was beyond words. In that summer sky darkness was overtaken by millions of stars that seemed low enough for us to touch them. Today, when I am overshadowed by darkness and fear, I return to that experience of God’s radiant love and find strength for my days. I remind myself that God’s love is like the stars — I can’t always see it but I know it’s always there!
Perhaps you can recall a past time when you experienced light that was stronger than darkness, light that carried you through a difficult time. Try to remember where you were when you found the light, what it felt like , and how it lifted you up. Think about how it can do the same thing for you in this time. Once we “find light,” we can share it and “be light” for one another. Even a tiny spark of light in our souls can give another strength in theirs.
Being light is not always a direct encounter with a person. It can be a word, or a smile, or a card thoughtfully sent, or errands done for another or _______ or ________. You fill in the blanks! If we look hard enough each of us can “Find light” in our past experiences and “Be light” for others so that we might strengthen one other and live as children of light; for “light produces every kind of goodness.”(Ephesians 5:8-14)
In the end, the question “To Find Light” or “To be Light” may not require choosing one over the other. The answer lies in both – finding light for ourselves and being light for one another not only in times of a pandemic but also in everyday times.