Light and Shadow

George Fox, the founder of the Religious Society of Friends (Quakers) wrote in his journal in 1697, "...the Lord showed me that the natures of those things which were hurtful without, were within, in the hearts" "I saw also that there was an ocean of darkness and death; but an infinite ocean of light and love, which flowed over the ocean of darkness. In that also I saw the infinite love of God...."

Although every generation seems to experience its own ocean of darkness, we who are living now feel a sense of being overwhelmed by the complexities and cruelties of times such as these. How do we add to the ocean of light and love rather than to the ocean of darkness? After all, in the scientific terms of critical mass,  it doesn't take much to crest the wave of Light until it overflows the shadow of that which is hurtful within and without.

There are four ways I focus on everyday to help me live more and more of my own Light out into the world:

- Expect the Best - Every night before I go to bed and in the morning before I get up, I review the day ahead of me and envision the best possible outcomes. Even if it's just a matter of how many people I can look in the eye and smile at. How many stories I can listen to. If I am living Light from within, what might my best look like?

- Catch Me Doing Something Right - Just like plants, people thrive in the Light of their own goodness. Rather than criticize others and judge myself, I try to point out positive traits and behaviors. What am I, what are others doing that will grow from more Light?

- Stand FOR Something Instead of Fighting AGAINST - This is the most difficult of all four recommendation for me to carry out. I often remind myself to focus on what it is I love and appreciate rather than what infuriates me. I stand for the beauty of our planet, for fresh water, for clean air. I stand for equality of all genders and all races. By supporting what I stand for, I bring Light to issues in a way that encourages and builds up instead of creating resistance.

- Trust the Process - Another challenging aspect, but the truth is, we can't possibly know the big picture. Even if we have a big picture view, there's always a bigger picture at work. As the prophet Jeremiah wrote from his painful exile, "'For surely I know the plans for you,' says the Lord, 'plans for your welfare and not for harm, to give you a future with hope.'" At some point, we just have to trust in and act on a hopeful future, that the bending arc of justice will continue to bend, that the unseen and unknown process is acting on our behalf.

In being and living our Light, we can be, as George Fox wrote, "examples...that your carriage and life may preach among all sorts of people, and to them; then you will come to walk cheerfully over the world, answer that of God in every one; whereby in them you may be a blessing, and make the witness of God in them to bless you." Go, then, and be Light.