“Oh, how sweet the light of day,
And how wonderful to live in the sunshine!
Even if you live a long time, don’t take a single day for granted.
Take delight in each light-filled hour,
Remembering that there will also be many dark days
And that most of what comes your way is smoke.”
As Randy and I took a quick morning hike today, I mentioned the impact that spring has on our whole family’s demeanor. With the increasing light, there seems to be a corresponding lightness to our step. Winter in Idaho is both beautiful and brutal. Idahoans in our neck of the woods embrace winter and all its offerings, be it on skis, snowmobiles, or snowshoes. None the less, when spring comes our way we shed layers and return to the bike paths. Cars are exchanged for feet or two wheels, and the community is poised and eager for the coming summer season. It is a palpable change, this transition from the dark.
I find Ecclesiastes surprising in the sweet hidden encouragement that comes from this book that is more known for the meaninglessness of life. The honesty of the teacher who does not shield readers from the dark days and smoke is coupled with the exhoration to cherish the light and warmth of the days given. Dark and light are all part of the deal: winter and spring, loss and provision, heartache and unbridled passion, uncontainable laughter and inconsolable sadness, sin and righteousness, death and life.
Just days ago, while sharing a meal with friends, my feet were graced with the soft feel of cozy dog warmth beneath their table. Their canine friend has long been a sweet fixture in their home. Just days ago, this same dog was tragically lost to them and they have been flung into the darkness of loss. There is no why. There is simply the pain of what if, and what now?
This seemingly random collection of thoughts remind me that we cannot prepare for the darkness that comes our way. Often we cannot brace for it, but we can be assured that spring will come. The sweet light of day is around the corner. Winter does not last. Joy comes in the morning. When I wake up to a headline (as I did today) that bashed God’s Word and made me sad and angry, I write to proclaim that the Bible is not foolishness, but life to those who are open to receive it. Light in the darkness. Be it. Live it.