Today is the birthday of a dear friend. I celebrate her life today and dedicate this post to her by writing about her first word. She has had a beautiful connection to her first word throughout her life, and it remains an important word for her…
That’s the word. An odd word for a mini-person, making the “L” sound and all; complicated for a mouth-in-training. A few years back she had to attend a 24 hour solitude retreat as leader in the ministry for which she was working. Their main assignment was to consider how God has loved them, individually and particularly, through their life. Feeling a bit overwhelmed at this task my friend, never one to shy away from the daunting, sat in quiet and drew pictures of how God had sought her with his love over the years.
Through this quilt of paper drawings emerged a beautiful light…the light of God’s love for her. In her high school days when she was on a seeking journey, in depression and wondering if the whole God-thing was a grand hoax or the truest Reality of all, she found her answer in, of all places, a physics class studying the Solar System. The sun perfect in its light and warmth and the earth, rotating and angled so perfectly that if tilted a degree in one direction or the other we would either be fried or freeze…she saw outstanding perfection. Who else could produce such perfection but God Himself? The great light of our Solar System drew her to the Great Light of the Universe and a new journey began.
Throughout these quilted drawings she remembers her first word…Light…and an early picture of her as a baby, doing what? …Pointing to light. There has always been an attraction to light within her. And in the Physics class she had found true Light. If you were to meander through this paper quilt you would also see how God used the book of Ecclesiastes in her life as she came grips with both the mess of life and the worth of life…nothing has meaning without God.
Verse 7 of the 11thchapter reads “Light is sweet, and it pleases the eye to see the sun.”
As my friend walks this journey, living in the Light of Christ and as living as the Light of Christ in dark world, I am thankful for her journey on this, her birth-day.
During the Advent season Jeff and I were lighting candles in the dark and praying for those we love…we had a brief, yet powerful discussion on light. He noted, most perceptively, that the light God created (fire) is distinctly different than the light humans created (light bulbs). We are able to point lights where we would like them to be, spotlights being a prime example. We are able to illuminate only that which we choose to see. But light a fire or a candle and its light creates its own places of illumination, it cannot be controlled in the same way a light bulb can. In this same way God’s light (the Holy Spirit) fills our hearts and illumines that which He wants us to see, not what we may wish to see: secrets, distance, lies, pain, etc…and He illumines dark places within for purposes of transformation. We use spotlights to highlight our prettiest places within and avoid transformation for the cost that may ensue during its process. What Gracious Light to accept us as we are and illumine according to love for the purpose of creating hope and life. Which leads me to another page on that paper quilt, one of my friend’s favorite verses “I pray also that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you” (Ephesians 1:18).
The word “enlightened”, in the original Greek which it was written means “flooded with light”. May our hearts be flooded with light! And this is the journey we are on, a continually flooding of God’s light in our hearts day by day, season by season.
To end this tribute to my enlightened friend I will put a song here for your enjoyment (as for some reason I have been doing a lot of lately). Though my friend would be first in line to say she is not one to listen to popular Christian radio, she has at times, in searching for encouragement, flipped on the station to hear this song innumerable times at just that right moment. Innumerable times, she says, bringing her to tears considering the love God has for her and how he has shown this to her through her very first word: Light.