Darkness Gets a Bad Rap
Christianity taught me that the Light overcomes and conquers the Darkness, equating light with good and dark with bad. On my journey toward Humanism, I rejected this understanding.
Since I was a little girl in the Catholic orphanage, I have appreciated the darkness. At St. Joseph's, Sister Mary Leo placed me in the storage room (regularly) as punishment for being me. I loved the darkness of that room. It comforted me and quieted my fear.
It was only when the light appeared as a sliver across the dark floor, that I began to tremble again. The light brought Sister Mary Leo.
I no longer moralize light and dark. Light is not the state of purity and goodness. The dark is not the quintessential expression of immorality and sin. Literally light and its absence (dark) dance together within and around us.
Emily Dickinson wrote this perfect poem, honoring the dark and our capacity to walk in and through it:
We grow accustomed to the Dark
When Light is put away
As when the neighbor holds the Lamp
To witness her good bye.
A moment - we uncertain step
Into the newness of the night
Then fit our vision to the Dark
And meet the road – erect.
And so of larger darknesses
Those evenings of the brain
When not a moon or star
Come out, to disclose a sign within.
The bravest - grope a little
And sometimes hit a tree
Directly in the forehead,
But as they learn to see
Either the Darkness alters
Or something in the sight
Adjusts itself to midnight
And life steps again, almost straight.