The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not overcome it.- John 1:5
Working as a chaplain in a children’s hospital is a high-contrast job. There are times when faith, hope, and love seem to light up a room unlike anywhere else. And there are times when darkness seems about to overcome. But the verse from John 1:5 keeps coming to mind. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not overcome it. It may be dark here, but I’m going to hold out hope the light shines on.
I spent Friday afternoon at la lavanderia, as I do every other Friday afternoon, doing the wash, reading, listening to music, chewing on a gumball, and watching my neighbors wash, dry, and fold their laundry, too.
Every two weeks everything gets cleaned, dried, folded, and put back in the shelves at home. And two weeks later, it is all back in the laundry basket, waiting to be cleaned again. What do people get for all the toil and anxious striving with which they labor under the sun? Things seem to get dirty as quickly as we wash them clean.
After my first three weeks working as a chaplain at Children’s Hospital, I’ve seen incredible resilience. Children, families, and staff working for months to find healing, a cure, rehabilitation, and new life. I’ve seen the capacity of even the youngest children to fight towards health and joy through illness and pain. But I’ve also seen how fragile life can be. How easily broken we are in body and spirit. And how quickly we can be succumbed by the darkness of death and suffering.
There is a beauty in embracing the full spectrum of our humanity. Of knowing we were created with both incredible resilience and vulnerable fragility. And there is a comfort in following the one who fully knows our fragility and resiliency, being fragile enough to be killed on a cross, but, in a miraculous act of resilience, overcame death to rise again.
Mike and I spent a little time at Proof Bakery in Atwater Village this afternoon, catching the low winter light over an amazing latte.
The world seems loud lately. Loud with the activities I throw into it. Loud with decisions. Loud with pain. Loud with my own voice. It’s just so loud out there.
And normally I try to drown out all the noise with even more noise. Girl Talk on my headphones, Colbert on my laptop, NPR always playing in the background. But it just adds to the noise.
The steady rhythmic crash of the waves and roar of the wind is one of the only sounds that actually drowns out the other noise. It’s like breathing during yoga. It may be loud, but it’s a grounding noise. Not distracting, but attaching me to the ground.
Mr. Braddock: Ben, what are you doing?
Benjamin: Well, I would say that I’m just drifting. Here in the pool.
Mr. Braddock: Why?
Benjamin: Well, it’s very comfortable just to drift here.
Mr. Braddock: Have you thought about graduate school?
Mr. Braddock: Would you mind telling me then what those four years of college were for? What was the point of all that hard work?
Benjamin: You got me.