Shorter days are coming in some parts of the world, while others are finding longer, sunnier days.  In the U.S., I find this time of year hard, as the dark and the cold take a mental toll.  I found sustenance in our bloggers’ reflections on light, new dawns, and the beauty of twilight. 

A new expansiveness is shaping the way Julia Walsh is viewing the world.  Dawning in her is a way to see people with fresh eyes, even the people she’s known for years.  “I need to resist the temptation to assume they’ll react a certain way to anything I say or do. I need to let go of expectations that they’ll be in a mood I’ve encountered before or behave how they have in the past. Although every person is allowed to live a life made of patterns and habits, it’s not my duty to subject them to any traps or predictions…”  This wide vision extends to herself, too.  “Similarly, I am trying to free myself from traps of thinking about myself. I am learning that a way to love myself is to allow space to grow and change. This is actually part of self-acceptance, of giving God a chance to work out conversions in my mind, heart and actions.” 

As part of a longer sermon, Julia S. shares this piece of wisdom: “I was recently asked what I think heaven is like.”  Her answer: “I don’t. I don’t think about heaven. I believe in it, but heaven is not my job. I’m not in charge of getting people in, room assignments, or landscaping. I am charged with faithful living and teaching in this life and repair of the world for Christ’s sake in the here and now. Heaven belongs to God and is God’s job, not mine.” 

On the day of her transplant surgery, Kathy Manis Findley finds herself awaiting the twilight blessing of anesthesia, “that space created for me by a gifted anesthesiologist.  It is, I imagine, a magical thing that gathers all the worries, fears, disappointments of illness and tucks them neatly into a glittering silver pouch.  The twilight is a good feeling, a sense of new well-being in the all places where my feelings and emotions live.   It is a comfort and a grace. It is a relief, a blessed sense that all is well.  It is an alchemist holding the silver pouch in her hands and flinging it into the heavens, each fear and worry joining the stars in the night sky.  And as dawn breaks — a new dawn — I welcome a new life, a different life, a gift of life that feels like hope.” 

Praying for us, Leslie Scoopmire offers:

Bright Morning Star,
we seek your light and guidance.
You herald a new dawn for those who feel lost or alone.
Your light brings promise
of the dawning of a new day
a day in which all things are made new.
Inspire us to focus on your rising,
which drives all shadows from our hearts.
And, we pray, be a beacon of hope and fortitude,
especially to those for whom we now pray.  Amen.

What twilights or dawns are you finding in your own life?  What feels energizing or restful to you right now?  We would love to hear your thoughts in the comments section below. 

Mary Austin is the pastor of Gaithersburg Presbyterian Church, a diverse Presbyterian Church, where people from over 30 countries worship.  She is the author of Meeting God at the Mall

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