“Have regard for your covenant, because haunts of violence fill the dark places of the land.” - Psalm 74:20 (NIV)
Growing up, I was afraid of the dark. I always assumed there was something horrible waiting for me in the shadows, and I was only comfortable sleeping in the dark if someone else was in the room.
Thankfully, I got older, and my feelings about darkness matured with me.
Darkness is sometimes a place where people hide their secrets, pain, or even their transgressions.
But pigeonholing darkness to an insidious definition ignores the promise of life that darkness can also bring.
In a now-viral sermon, Sikh activist and public speaker Valarie Kaur says the future is dark. She does so lamenting how she will raise a Sikh son in a world where “white nationalists hail this moment as their great awakening.”
But instead of limiting the capacities of darkness to what is grim, Kaur asks, “What if this darkness is not the darkness of the tomb, but the darkness of the womb?”
In her sermon, she reminds us of what so many tend to forget. Although darkness is often associated with evil and death, people forget to remember how the darkness promises new life and rebirth.
I cling to this hope as my communities lose their rights and my neighbors flee their persecution. The resilience of our hearts and the depths of our commitments to each other are gestating in the great womb of this moment of unrest. And although it is destined to hurt, the birth of a new, alternative future just might be possible.
Lead me toward the darkness where I might find new life for new futures. Amen.
Marchaé Grair is a spiritual director in training and the Director of Public Relations and Outreach for the Unitarian Universalist Association.