(a painting with “The Dark And (In) The Light” reflection by Timothy J. Verret)
I did this painting when I was in a very dark place. The place didn’t last very long, but I would have preferred not to have gone to this place in the first place. But I went there (or was taken there) and while there, I tried to capture with this painting, “The Dark And (In) The Light,” that in the light, there can be dark, and in the dark, there can be light. And as I typically “roll,” there can be BOTH!
Questions (of course!): Can we have the light without the dark? Can we have the dark without the light? Would we know there was light if we weren’t in the dark? Would we know there was dark if we weren’t in the light? Once again, can we have BOTH? I think most of us do have BOTH. And yet when it is dark, as it was recently for me, we search for the light. It’s not often, if ever, that when it is light, we are searching for the dark. That is, unless you’re an artist of my caliber. But, seriously, maybe for the search, we don’t have much of a choice either way?
As a human, I’m prone to the dark more than the light (“This is the verdict: Light has come into the world, but people loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil” [John 3:19]). It’s not that I want to do evil deeds in the dark (or in the light). It’s just that the dark knows me all too well. It’s followed me around for many years like a hungry puppy and, I suppose being the animal welfare advocate I am, I have kept this lost and hungry puppy well-fed. But the light comes for me often in the dark, and I’m thankful for that. The dark comes for me often so I will seek out the light. If I were prone to the dark and the dark was all I ever wanted to feed, as John 3:19 says we are wired as such, I would be suicide. But, as it stands now, I’m prone to the dark to seek the light.
What is the dark and the light? If one is Biblically inclined, The Dark is Satan and The Light is God. God is Love. Satan is Hate. God=Light. Satan=Dark. It doesn’t get more simple than that. So, if I’m prone to The Dark as I am, with no judgment on your part or mine (I hope), then Satan is following me hard with hate. If I’m becoming prone to The Light as I am, with no judgment on your part or mine (I hope), then God is following me hard with love. If the world could chime in right here, it would undoubtedly tell you and I, “love The Dark.” For those in the knowledge of the Bible, the ruler of the world we occupy is The Dark, hate, Satan (“Satan, who is the god of this world, has blinded the minds of those who don’t believe” [2 Corinthians 4:4]). This is why Jesus tells us not to be OF the world. Jesus doesn’t want us to “love The Dark” that is the world (flesh). Jesus wants us to “love The Light” that is God (Holy Spirit). The only way to love The Light is to be IN the world and not OF the world. If OF the world, The Dark, Satan, hate wins. If IN the world, The Light, God, love wins.
I’m an artist who hates (yet needs) The Dark so I can love (create for) The Light. I start with The Dark so I can finish with The Light. I start with hate so I can finish with love. I start with Satan so I can finish with God. When one has died to their old life, they desperately go toward The Light. I’m not sure if one who has not died to their old life can even begin to go toward The Light. Certainly, they won’t go toward it desperately. It takes a death of this persuasion to come alive. But can we die again after we have already died? I think we can; I think we don’t want to, though. I don’t want to. I want to live again, and I want to live for God, for The Light, for love, i.e., The Love of Son Jesus in order to Love Father God and love others, humans and nonhuman animals.
If we stop loving, we know not God or God’s Light (“Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love” [1 John 4:8]). If we start hating, we know Satan and Satan’s Dark. Totally simple and not even remotely profound. And yet the conditioning (human and spiritual) in this manner is NOT simple and yet incredibly profound. To embrace the complexity of the human and spiritual condition is an essential. One cannot know these conditions if one is of the simple mind- and heart-set. It will go “okay” for a while but, as Ingmar Bergman so eloquently and truthfully wrote in his screenplay of PERSONA when the actress Elisabet went mute, “Your hiding place is not watertight. Life starts to trickle in from the outside and you are forced to react.” This is EXACTLY what happens if one hides from the complexity of the human and spiritual condition, i.e., one in their hiding place (denial) will have life begin to trickle in from the outside, and one will be forced to react, often if not always against one’s will. The reaction is inevitable; the way of the reaction is BOTH. Hide or trickle? The Dark or The Light. Hate or Love? God or Satan? Yes, I meant to keep these BOTH simple.
“The Dark And (In) The Light” are the whole “And (In)” spiritual journey. We cannot have one without the other. I live not only in The Light and I live not only in The Dark. I am forced to react “And (In)” BOTH.
What will you do with “The Dark And (In) The Light?” Please let me know how you’re forced to react….