Guatemala 2016 | Finding Light in the Darkness

Screen Shot 2016-07-07 at 1.49.01 PMThis past week I have been blessed with beautiful weather in Northeast Indiana and have been able to get in a lot of morning runs. Running as the sun comes up casts many shadows across the road and at one point my own shadow startled me! This incident got me thinking about light and darkness and how it can seem that the light is gone when really it is there but we just can’t see it.

One definition of shadow is an area of darkness created when a source of light is blocked. How does this relate to traveling to Guatemala, social justice and what is happening currently in the United States? For me, God has always represented light. This past week many shadows have been cast across our country as we try to process black men getting shot by white policemen and policemen getting shot during a peace rally. Through social media we have seen and heard many reflections on what is happening in this world and people taking sides on which lives matter. The question for a lot of people has been, “Where is God?” He is here, even in the darkness. As a society, we have put up barriers that keep us from seeing and feeling Him. To Him, EVERY life matters and we forget that. We let color or poverty or whatever other stigmatism we create, keep us from letting the light of God shine through us, to create the unity He longs for among his creation. When violence occurs, we feel He has gone away when really this is the time we need to search for Him even more. The real question is, how do we stop rejecting the light that is in our hearts?

I once asked a priest how we move forward in a relationship after someone has hurt us.  How do we get past the misunderstandings and anger? How do we overcome the fear that we will be hurt again? His response was that roads and bridges are built one brick at a time. It takes work, patience and most of all love. I think that is where we are at in the world right now. We all have to take that first step towards making things better. Each one of us needs to start creating relationships and breaking down the walls so that we can begin to build bridges towards community. This includes in our country and for me, in my journey to Guatemala. This pilgrimage is about being another brick in the pathway that connects my life with the lives of those in Guatemala. It doesn’t seem like much but it is another piece on the road towards unity and understanding those who were not lucky enough to be born into white privilege. May the light of God shine on all of us as we work together to end pain, suffering and violence throughout the world.

Janet is a Spiritual Director who studied Ignatian Spirituality and uses it to help others find God in all things.  She facilitates a contemplative prayer group at her church and is constantly amazed how God continually invites all of us to a deeper union with Him.   She has been married for 32 years, is the mother of four grown children who are all amazing, and grandmother to a grandson who brings her never ending joy.