The Gift of Darkness

Not long ago my son sent me an article about Stephen Colbert, new host of the Late Show and an active Catholic.  In the article I learned that Colbert’s father and two of his brothers were killed in a plane crash when Colbert was 10 years old.  He was traumatized but he did not become resentful.  The interviewer asked him why.  “My mother,” he said.  “She was broken but not bitter.” He talked about how this horrible shock taught him not to live his life in fear.  Then he said the most astounding thing.  He said, “That might be why you don’t see me as someone angry and working out my demons onstage.  It’s that I love the thing that I most wish had not happened.”

I love the thing that I most wish had not happened.

I have been living in the midst of that statement ever since I first read it. Henri Nouwen says it this way:

We have to find the courage to embrace our brokenness, to make our most feared enemy our friend, and to claim it as an intimate companion.

What a statement to be able to say you are grateful for the most traumatizing event of life….that we can make friends with the dark.

  • To be grateful for the dark that gestates the seed and the dark that brings trauma.
  • To be grateful for the dark that holds our dreams and the dark that brings the dark night of the soul.
  • To be grateful for the dark in which the light of the world is born and to be grateful for the dark where Herod’s plot is discovered.

As we approach the season of Advent, the nights lengthen and the days shorten. Many of us will leave for work in the dark and return home in darkness.   We must make friends with the darkness.  Join us this Advent season as we look at the dark that gives definition to the light and the darkness where the outrageous becomes possible.  For it was in the darkness that Joseph found direction; where the light of the world was born; where the magi saw a sign; and shepherds heard the good news.