Light Shines

They came to take him to Radiology today.  With a gurney.

He slid his legs over the side of his hospital bed and his feet hit the floor.

“No, you stay in bed.  We’ll move you over with the sheet.”  The aide was insistent, almost worried.

The slight man glanced at the two staffers and acquiesced, lying back down and waiting for them to bring the bed to the same level as the gurney.  Then he went quietly with them down into the bowels of the huge hospital, to have his hip X-rayed, while his wife waited for him in his room.

I visited him this evening in his hospital room.  He is unhappy.  Who wouldn’t be?  Two weeks away from home and he is not much better.  At least his disease has a name.  Congestive heart failure.

He is unhappy.

Yet, as he sits, face on his hands, he tells me the story of his visit to the radiology department.  His body shakes as he talks for a minute and then stops to catch his breath.  I wonder if he is so unhappy that he is crying.  Then he gets to the part about the hip X-ray, and I realize that he is laughing.

He tells about his visit with the coronary specialist later this afternoon, in which he asked the doctor about the hip X-ray.

“Hip X-ray?”  The doctor is confused.

The nurse, at his side, is not.  Abruptly, she runs from the room and makes immediate arrangements for the man down the hall, who has been limping strangely, to be taken to Radiology for his hip X-rays.

The man with his face in his hands laughs outright.

“Well, at least I didn’t have to stay all day in this room and be bored.”

With a quip about being glad the trip wasn’t to get a leg amputated, he quiets down again and the reality of his situation intrudes into the room once more.

I think he will laugh again.  There will be other bright spots.

A friend posted a picture online the other day.  The sunset was beautiful, but not all that spectacular.  I wondered what was special about this particular sunset.  It wasn’t until I read the words under the photo that I saw how spectacular it really was.

The hashtagged comment was: #neverhadsunsetsbeforethewildfires. 

A couple of years ago, she and her family lost their home and everything else—all their recorded memories, all their photos, everything—in a wildfire.  They are slowly rebuilding their lives from the ashes.

In the meantime, they are finding the bright spots.  Trees cleared away by fire?  Look for the sun lowering to the horizon in the west.

Light shines through.

You see, the thing about finding yourself in a dark place is this:  You look for the bright spots.

And you find them.

As a child, I remember waking up in a dim bedroom and seeing the sunbeams streaming through the window.  The dingy room was brighter in spots because of them.

But, if you sat and just gazed at the beams shooting their way in from the bright sun, you suddenly noticed something: Little tiny dust motes dancing in the light.  They would twirl and twist, rising and falling with even the tiniest wind current, perhaps the slightest puff of your breath, or even a hand waving several feet away.

It is almost as if even the denizens of the dark room were happy for the sunlight, welcoming it in to chase away the shadows.

In spite of the darkness, we find light.

We laugh in the face of disease.  We rejoice in the aftermath of loss.  We move on from the dark places in which we find ourselves to walk in the light of day.

What’s that?  

You’re still in the dark place?

Perhaps you could come a little nearer to the window.  Even now, the beams are sliding in through the panes to welcome the dancers from the dark.

You don’t want to sit this one out.



The light shines in the darkness and the darkness has not overcome it.
(John 1:5 ~ NIV)


Now God be praised, that to believing souls gives light in darkness, comfort in despair.
(from Henry VI ~ William Shakespeare ~ English playwright ~ 1564-1616)




© Paul Phillips. He’s Taken Leave. 2016. All Rights Reserved.

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