The other night I had a very interesting dream... The dream itself was nothing shockingly dramatic. In fact, this dream in particular was quite simple. What made it so powerful was the emotion and the thought it compelled in me.
It was dark. Very dark. I was fumbling around for something, anything, to tell me where I was and how I could get out of the darkness. The space I was trapped in was not very big at all. I felt suffocated by the darkness and fearful of what it could be hiding from me. I kept patting down the walls in a desperate attempt to find something that would give me a clue as to where I was and why I was there. Suddenly, as I made intense contact with one of the walls, I discovered that it was, in fact, a window, just shy of the length and width of the entire wall. As I forced all of my weight on the frame, it swung wide open, breaking free of the shutters that had provided a protective enclosure. Sunlight rushed in on me, and although it was a warm relief, its intensity was quite painful to my eyes, and it took me a few moments to see into the light.
Is it just me, or does it seem that this is often the story of life? The story of faith? There have been so many times that I have felt like I'm stumbling around in the darkness, timid and afraid, cursing the walls that trap me, when all along, my "entrapment" is actually encompassing a window that I simply cannot see-- a window of freedom, a window of light-- encased entirely by my misguided perception of imprisonment.
I find it not at all startling that the light that suddenly pours in on us during such moments of revelation is often more stinging than soothing. (Have you ever felt the burn in your eyes when you sit in a dark room for a period of time, and someone suddenly turns on the lights?) There is an initial shock that comes with revelation. No matter how much you want to see, it still takes a moment or two to adjust to the brutal exposure. The end result is, indeed, triumph... but those initial moments of adjustment are, without a doubt, bittersweet. The illumination of truth demands the dissolution of what had previously thrived in darkness, and somehow, in all of their somberness, we miss those things. We attach ourselves to our ideas, our words, and our ways, and the very nature of revelation shakes them to the ground.
In hindsight, it is all quite beautiful, but the destruction of all the things we had previously thought true is, in its time, devestating. Just like the blinding light that flooded in the window of my dream. It was a sign of freedom, a sign of hope, and a sign of life. And yet, for a moment, it was piercing, it was staggering. I have found myself often in these circumstances: either cursing the walls or cursing the throes of the light. It shouldn't be this way. The walls are embracing my window, and the sting in my eyes is merely a sign of new truth.
Yes, in hindsight, it is all quite beautiful. Perhaps in foresight, I can call it beautiful even before I am able to see it.