“What fellowship does light have with darkness?” 2 Corinthians 6:14
I read this verse several weeks ago during a summer Bible study and I still can’t shake it. I think about this verse many times throughout the day. It’s probably because I am a word nerd and I looked up the meaning of fellowship and found that one of the ways Webster defines fellowship is, it is a company of equals.
Light and darkness, a company of equals. Makes sense when you think about the passage of time. There is an equal balance of day and night throughout the year. But what about with the soul? This is where my brain is stuck. Do the darkness and the light always even out?
The past few years for me have been lived on the dark side. Lots of change, moving, reintegration, and learning to live as a family unit have been difficult for me. I have not navigated those things smoothly and often I have been mired in the hurt that came from all of it.
One of my most vivid memories of the descent into darkness was a morning during my husband’s last deployment. I was feeling particularly dark that day and woke up with Florence and the Machine’s song, “Shake it Out,” on repeat in my head. At zero dark thirty I rose to catch a few minutes of uninterrupted quiet time and the verse, “It’s always darkest before the dawn,” rang in my head. That morning I sat very still and quiet at the breakfast table and looked out across the field to see that what Florence and the Machine sang was true. I watched the sky go from pitch black to streaked with light and color. It’s weird. I knew that was a thing-that darkness turned into light every day as the sun came up, but I had never really given it much thought. Especially how the darkest few minutes happen right before the sun rises.
The morning that I watched this every day occurrence I cried because I felt like God was speaking just to me. “Jenny Lynne, it IS always darkest before the dawn. I know your days are dark and scary, but I promise the light will peek through, just as it does every morning.”
Up until that point in my life I had lived a relatively light life. Sure there were some heartbreaks and less than stellar events, but by and large my life was pretty light. And I didn’t even know it.
What fellowship does light have with darkness? They are a company of equals. You cannot have one without the other; rather you cannot appreciate one without the other. Until my life went dark I didn’t know how light it had been. Similarly, until the light began to filter through the darkness of the last few years, it was hard to see through the pitch-black depths of despair.
On an Oprah Super Soul Podcast, author and minister, Barbara Brown Taylor, discusses this very idea of the fellowship of light and darkness:
“Embrace the darkness. It’s half your life. Whether it’s day/night or your emotional life. I’ve spent a lot more energy trying to manage and avoid instead of wondering what might be there for me. Probably the places I least want to go are the richest places to be. The richest treasures hidden there.”
I couldn’t agree with her more. How often have I actually kept myself in the dark because I was fighting so hard against it? I’ve spent a lot of time, tears, and money trying to keep the darkness at bay. And for what? What am I so afraid of in the dark when its perfect companion is light?
I have found Barbara Brown Taylor’s words to be true; the richest treasures have been unearthed in the dark. It was in the dark that I came to believe there is Light. It was in the dark that I thrust myself into community with others who kept me moving toward the Light. It was from the dark corners of my heart that my character defects and resentments have been pulled out and released.
It’s not lost on me that I moved to sunny San Diego in the midst of my darkest days. It’s always darkest before the dawn. The Light gets in. The dark can only stay for so long as the Light is always there to balance it out.