Long Day’s Journey Into Night

Posted on 30 Dec 2011 in Breathe | 2 comments

When I was just out of high school, this play was one of my favorites. It’s dark and dreary and a horrific tale of life and family in the modern age. There’s addiction and suffering and insanity.

All the things I thought I understood – I was convinced that I was living them, after all.

I had friends who smoked! And DRANK! And some who even did unmentionable things in unmentionable places with unmentionable people. I was such a pretentious 18 year old. I can laugh at myself now, recognizing that I was even worse than the guys on Dawson’s Creek who seemed to have everything sorted, yet their lives kept going so horribly, horribly awry. And then something even more amazing happened.

Joss Whedon’s Buffy the Vampire Slayer began. And I had a whole new world of dark and dreary and horrific and pretentiousness – and this one written infinitely better. At so many points in time, it seemed as if finally someone understood.

Life wasn’t always sunshine and daffodils and roses and happy joy joy. And it also wasn’t all darkness and depression and insanity. There was this strange symbiosis of life and death and darkness and light.

It’s *both/and*

We’ve been driving across the country. We started in California, stopped in Phoenix and Carlsbad, and arrived in O Fallon, MO. It’s been an incredibly journey. We’ve had heaps to time to spend in reflection and dreaming about the future – the kind of people we want to be, the dreams we want to pursue, the community we want to create and help to thrive. And we’ve met lovely people along the way.

And I guess I feel like this title represents this season really well for us.

We’ve entered a season of “Night.”

Night isn’t bad. In fact, one of our favorite days driving started at 3pm and lasted until 10am the next day. Driving through the night gave us time to find the stillness and the beauty in the journey itself – not just the surface visuals of it. We had nothing to look at outside, so we were able to talk and dream on the inside.

Night is when things slow down, we find time for dreaming – both waking and sleeping. Night is a place of rest and restoration.

But night is dark, and it’s a place where you could move from faith in things hoped for to fear of the unknown.

About 2 hours after sunset, we were coming down from the summit of Cloudcroft, NM, and we saw the DEER. In the middle of the road. An enormous, huge, hulking, semi-truck of a buck. Standing there, staring at us, as if we were the ones who needed to get out of the way. We slowed down (after a moment of panic, “DEER!” shouting, and mild heart palpitations) and then came a moment where I looked the deer in the eyes. Off he ran, and we carried on.

In that moment, looking eye-to-eye with the deer, I came to realize something.

I could be the car, or I could be the deer.

Either way, I’m not really in control. If I’m the deer, I’m the one responsible for making the decision to run or stand. I’m the one who gets startled and surprised by change and things coming at me. But I could be the car. I can be the very best car I can, and try to be prepared for wherever my driver is taking me. I can allow my driver to make all the changes needed to make sure that we get where we’re going.

Obviously my metaphor only goes so far.

I guess what I’m getting at, is that for now, I’m ok to not be in the driver’s seat. We don’t have a plan. We have a general destination. We want to be more compassionate, grace-filled. We want to give and dream and thrive – and help others to do the same. But as for work, and the universe, and kids and living and finances and even things like writing and dreaming…

Those are all part of the journey.

We’ve had an amazing ‘day’ so far. It’s been four years of growing and learning to trust and see and know what is coming. But we’ve ventured into our ‘night’ and we’re ok with it.

I hope that as you begin 2012, you’ll begin to see that whether or not you are in ‘day’ or ‘night’, it is all part of a journey of ‘both/and’. There are both life and death, but the death brings resurrection. There are both darkness and light, but there are treasures hidden in the darkness.

I pray that you will find your treasures in the darkness, and that you will dance in the moonlight.


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