Recently I’ve been reading a book by Barbara Brown Taylor titled, “Learning to Walk in the Dark.” The concept is just as it sounds, that there is a matter of human need to learn to walk in the darkness since we are so very conditioned to lean toward the light. We have learned, formally or informally, to identify light as good and darkness as bad. Taylor seeks to debunk that thinking and encourages us to learn that there is good in the darkness as well.
One particular chapter of the book relays her day of cave exploring with an experienced couple. Not the sort of caves that you visit with other tourists but the true caves of exploration where equipment is needed and no lighting is included for your convenience.
At the end of this chapter she notes her appreciation for her cave guides in keeping her safe and helping her explore darkness and her own courage. And then she says this:
“Maybe that’s the difference between pastoral counselors and spiritual directors. We go to counselors when we want help getting out of caves. We go to directors when we are ready to be led farther in… The way out is the way in.”Barbara Brown Taylor, pg 129 in “Learning to Walk in the Dark”
The way out is the way in.
We so often avoid our inner struggles, emotions, and heaviness just as we avoid physical darkness. But when we confront those very things, and when we lean into that darkness, we just might find that there is a source of light to be found within. Absent of light, there still might be goodness, beauty, and healing in the midst of the darkness.
Life has felt pretty dark lately. And maybe you feel that too. But there is still goodness, beauty, and healing to be found. Perhaps that’s something that you’ve been looking for as you try to move toward light. Maybe you need to sit in the darkness for a while.
Feel it. Get to know it. Talk with it. Understand it.
Then perhaps you will see the glimmer of light that leads out of the cave.
Let’s talk about spiritual direction as a way to grapple with the darkness. Email me for information, or check out my spiritual direction page.
Husband, father, pastor, and Steelers fan. Lover of coffee, dogs, and bourbon.