Chapter 6

learning to walk in the dark headerYou can download a PDF of this week’s reflection here.

“While I am looking for something large, bright, and unmistakably holy, God slips something small, dark and apparently negligible in my pocket, How many other treasures have I walked right by because they did not meet my standards?” Learning to Walk in the Dark, page 130

I spent this last week with 900 older adults on the banks of Lake Junalaska in the mountains of North Carolina as we gathered for the Church of the Brethren National Older Adult Conference (NOAC). Together we worshiped, sang, prayed, listened, learned, hugged, cried, laughed until we cried and were swept away by the Holy Spirit. Now, just for the sake of full disclosure, I am about 21 years to young to attend NOAC. I was invited to attend to lead an Interest Session and to support and help throughout the week. It is a coveted invitation indeed and it was a pleasure to serve in that capacity. Leading up to the conference I would excitedly tell some of my friends that I would be spending the week with older adults and I got some pretty funny looks. It seems hangout with “old people” isn’t a normal thing to get so excited about.

In chapter 6 of Learning to Walk in the Dark, Barbra Brown Taylor finds her self exploring a cave. Wowed by the quiet darkness. As she explores one particular corner she discovers “a long thin fissure in the rock that is full of tiny crystals, everyone of them catching the light [from her headlamp] and tossing it back and forth.” She picks up one particularly glittery crystal that had broken off and sticks it in her backpack. Later that night back at home, she pulls it out and looks at it under the light of her bedside lamp, to her wonder it looks like a piece of gravel, nothing spectacular and certainly not glittery. She turns off the lamp and instead examines the stone with a small penlight, in the dark room with just a little bit of light the stone glistens and shines.

Some of the folks I spent the week with are a little slower than they would like, their knees/hips/feet don’t work as well as they once did. Their faces are accentuated by wrinkles and laugh-lines. Often in our world they are overlooked and ignored as we “younger” folks speed by. During this last week I was given the opportunity to slow down, sit down and simply be. I met some wonderful people, I heard some incredible stories and I saw some of the most brilliant glittering I have ever seen. Each one of them shining and dancing under the light of the Holy Spirit.

If you want to catch up on all that happened at NOAC you can find the daily review of events and NOAC News here:

One comment on “Chapter 6
  1. Sandy says:

    I finding it fascinating that often when I read or hear about a topic, suddenly I hear about it other places even though I’d never heard of it before (or I think that I haven’t). For example, I read Taylor’s chapter this week about the dark including caves and the details of caving. Then in the news was the story about the cave where a significant find was made and all the problems of caving there. Also my understanding is that the find was made because some explorers were trying to take a photo in the “twilight zone” and stepped into a hole that was the entrance to the unexplored area of this cave.

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