[Written after a very early morning when I went to pray with a congregant before surgery]
It's darkest before the dawn, or so they say.
Before even the surgical waiting room has been opened, or anyone is ready to wait.
Before she has been taken back.
Before the visitor's desk is staffed, or the parking deck, for that matter.
Before the cafeteria has opened.
Before the nurses are fully awake.
Before the rules are thoroughly enforced.
Before the sun (or son) has started tinting the world a lovely shade of pink.
It's darkest then.
But it's there, in the before, that God feels closest.
Because the light of love is waiting to break in.
And for the ones, waiting and watching,
the great divide between heaven and earth seems a little thinner.
Because we need God just a little more,
and we're a little less guarded and a little more vulnerable.
It's darkest before the dawn.
But not really.
Because in that great darkness a voice gently whispers in my ear,
"I am the light of the world. And the darkness has never, will never, put the light out."
"Graceland" is the name of my favorite song and album. It's by Paul Simon, but more importantly, it's what "home" sounds and feels like to me. We always listened to this album as we traveled from my home in Tennessee to my parents' childhood homes in Florida. But today, it's also a pretty good snapshot of my theology. Somewhere I really believe that the Christian journey is all about a wild trip to Grace-land. As I see it, Grace-land is the place where God is waiting to meet even us–with all the baggage and brokeness that we tote with us. Grace-land is the place where we will be received with open arms, even though our attempts at “getting it right” have been miserable failures at best. But, I think, every step we take is a step on the journey to Graceland.