Since Nate died, 89 Sundays have come and gone. Many have been difficult or at least a dip in my week, and I’ve learned to brace for them. Last Sunday was about a “3″ on the sadness scale, not too bad, but as I worked in the basement during the afternoon, I kept all the lights on and the music upbeat.
After rearranging the storage closet and putting away the Christmas lights (7 months late), I noticed the sun setting through the small, high windows and felt myself slipping. It hadn’t helped I’d stumbled across Nate’s funeral book and also a framed drawing he’d made in kindergarten. So I stopped, sat down with the picture in my lap, and asked God what to do next.
I’ve learned that after asking, it’s important to listen, to pay attention to my next thought. And for me, coming from him, it was this: “Hang some Christmas lights.”
“Really?” I said. “I just packed them all away.”
Heading toward the closet, I looked for a good place to string them and decided on the main beam stretching from one end of the basement to the other. A zig-zag pattern would be festive, and small nails wouldn’t bother the thick wood.
Two hours and 67 nails later, the basement was transformed, and God, always faithful, had lifted me from a gloomy place.
Wednesday an electrician will come to revamp the electrical box in my basement. “I’ll have to shut down power to the whole house,” he said, “so please know everything’s going to be dead all day. And since your basement will be too dark to work in, do you think a neighbor would lend you power through an extension cord?”
Since I have award-winning neighbors, I quickly said, “Yes”, and he was gone. But I stood in my twinkle-lit basement looking at the newly hung lights and thanked God for his idea. Lights are nice for all of us. They allow us to work but also give a boost as needed.
Light also keeps us from doubting what we know to be true, particularly in reference to God’s promises. It’s during the dark of night we toss and turn, worry and churn over things we can believe him for, during the day. We check the windows for dawn, watch the clock, and feel much better when the sky lightens.
God knows that. He’s the originator of light, and before he made it, everything was dark all the time (though God sees perfectly in the dark). Making light (before making the sun and moon) must have been tricky, because either it’s light or it’s dark. But leave it to God to figure out a way to divide the two and still have both.
I appreciate his lights and also my man-made Christmas lights. By the way, although I didn’t measure or count anything in advance, when I got to the end of the basement beam, I also got to the end of the lights. God had planned it perfectly.
“God separated the light from the darkness.” (Genesis 1:4)