Light Flashes: A meditation on glory

By February 25, 2017Uncategorized


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In February the sun came out after a long month of gray skies and no shadow. Light flashed into our house with the subtlety of the tongues of flame falling on the disciples at Pentecost, maybe even with some power to cleanse, to remind us of what Paul said to the Corinthians, “For God, who said, ‘Let light shine out of darkness,’ made his light shine in our hearts to give us the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ'” (2 Cor. 4: 6).

This is the season of Epiphany, a celebration of light.  The word makes me think of the cartoon light bulbs that pop on over someone’s head, when they finally see the truth. And maybe the light the prophets talked about: “Arise, Shine for your light has come,” is not just a metaphor for God but the actual light we see slapped up against our walls and fields and trees and roads.

I wonder if the Spirit is moving even though it is not His/Her season. We have Lent and Easter to chug through first. But the Spirit moves like the wind, the word ruach translated from a word that means breath and wind both, unpredictable and wild. Maybe the Spirit is whirling across our fields like the tongues of flame at Pentecost. The New Age and Christian prophets seem to say that change is coming, big change. For good or ill, they say, they aren’t sure. Maybe the Spirit will settle over our heads like this orange flame from a sunset settled over a over a chair I gave Bruce’s mom because she admired the inlay. I gave it to her with a wrecked seat, a gift that probably felt way off to her. Quietly she had it reupholstered. We brought it back to our home after she died. And maybe neighbor can make peace with neighbor like we did with his mom, a peace coming out of an estrangement as ugly and silent as anything, the peace as much a miracle as anything I’ve seen.


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When the sun finally rose with no cloud cover, I was startled to see the dogs’ shadows trotting along the ditch with my shadow stretched long. We even saw our moon shadows after chores. I was stepping out of the barn just as Bruce was walking around the manure pile with Night and Little Dog. Night yanked the leash, Bruce dropped it and Night ran over to me. Our shadows were bright even though the moon was only half full.

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Venus has moved from low on the horizon, looking like a jet making its approach to O’Hare, to soaring in between our trees. When it was low, I’d stop and watch it move because I thought it was a jet, but it never did move like a jet, though my desire, made it seem to sweep closer to where I was standing. Lately I’ve been watching it move through our blinds, slowly, gracefully, dropping down across slats, not unlike the sun and moon when they come close to the horizon. In The Weight of Glory, C.S. Lewis says, “For if we take the imagery of scripture seriously, if we believe that one day God will give us the Morning Star, and cause us to put on the splendor of the sun, then we may surmise that the ancient myths and the modern poetry, so false as history, may be very near the truth as prophecy.”


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One day Bruce made a fire in the stove and the sunset flashed into our house, right up our stove pipe, pointing to glory, the kind of glory C.S. Lewis says we wish we could drape over our shoulders, get right back inside and shine. C.S. Lewis says in The Weight of Glory, “We do not want merely to see beauty, though, God  knows even that is bounty enough. We want something else which can hardly be put into words–to be united with the beauty we see, to pass into it, to receive it into ourselves, to bathe in it, to become part of it.”  

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I think of the prophet who says, “Arise, shine, for your light has come, and the glory of the Lord rises upon you.” And the song I sang in childhood about conversion, “Oh what a wonderful, wonderful day, day I will never forget…Heaven came down and glory filled my soul.” And think now maybe C.S. Lewis is wrong. Maybe the beauty does drop down on us, maybe the Spirit does move through us, and light shines. We just don’t know it. Yet.

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In the morning I saw lovely, silver light the shape of our stairwell spindles and  flash into our stairwell from the door. The dogs and Bruce stood for my pictures. To be honest having a camera in my pocket has  helped me see the beauty of light on my walls, and light sinking into the horizon if I didn’t have a way to remember them by holding them still in my pictures. And it was Laura Brown last year who showed me how to see these plates and platters of light by the pictures she shared on Facebook. (Here’s a link to her book, Everything that Makes You Mom.)

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I wrote about this last year, but the light seems to be showing up in different places, different patterns, maybe because the sun is coming out at a different time this year, throwing different angles, totally beautiful, light itself showing paradox, like parallel train tracks meeting in the distance, or spirituality that nudges, whispering, “It’s not either/or but both/and”–particles and waves of blessing smearing our walls.

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  • Mark says:

    Thank you for showing us light, Katie.

    Your writing and pictures reminded me of when Aron was three or so and was fascinated every morning with the beautiful sunbeam that came into the house through the kitchen window. It was so palpable and glorious that we just had to do something with it so we’d eat it. Aron and I would open our mouths as wide as possible and take big chomps of sun, gulp them down, and then chomp some more until we were full, full of delicious Glory!

    I’m not sure why we feel the urge to consume beauty, but I know that we do. Maybe it’s like what C. S. Lewis wrote. Maybe it’s why Jesus gave us Communion. Maybe “It’s A Wonderful Life!” after all.

    George Bailey: What do you want, Mary? Do you want the moon? If you want it, I’ll throw a lasso around it and pull it down for you. Hey! That’s a pretty good idea! I’ll give you the moon, Mary.
    Mary: I’ll take it! Then what?
    George: Well, then you can swallow it, and it’ll all dissolve see, and the moonbeams would shoot out of your fingers and your toes and the ends of your hair… am I talking too much?

  • Christine Guzman says:

    Katie: I love the pictures capturing sunbeams in your home. The outside of your home is so like the farmhouse I grew up in, your dog is like the dog Rex we had then.
    Blessings of receiving sun beams into our home, is the best way to acknowledge the benefits of winter and the presence of God in our lives. I love the way your photographs highlight objects and places in your home – inside and out and evoke such heart-felt meaning.

    On sunny days in winter in my home, for a short time the sun comes in on an angle from my dining room window onto my computer, it somewhat blinds me for awhile. I will look at this time in a new way now

    It was such a relief to get some sunny days in February after a gloomy January. My body and soul seemed to forget the few weeks in December I had in Mexico in a very short time and found myself in the winter doldrums in no time. It is a lesson we keep learning over and over again, good things do come to us, but not always at our expected time.

    • katiewilda says:

      Thank you so much for stopping by. I’m so glad that you’ll look at that light in a new way. It certainly has been fun seeing and collecting these flashes during the hard winter season. Though our winter has been quite mild.

      How fun to spend some time in Mexico, to be where it’s warm and sunny. Sorry you got the winter doldrums upon coming back. The lack of light is hard…Well, the days are getting warmer and the weather will get milder. (It’s been a mild winter here so far. We had several days in the 60’s and 70’s last week. It felt uneasy though. I wasn’t ready for it to be that warm…)

  • Laura Brown says:

    I love the flame above the chair, the stovepipe stripe, the dogshadows walking in the ditch. Thank you for these photos and what you say about them, and for these glimpses into your life. I hope we get to meet one day.

    • katiewilda says:

      Thank you so much for stopping by and for your encouragement. You certainly encouraged me to see light differently. I too hope we get to meet one day…

  • Carley says:

    Oh I am sorry I missed your birthday post last week. I try to visit every blog atleast once a week. Anyway happy belated birthday. Also looks like you three just had a wonderful evening. It is always nice to go out with the girls. wwspohoughtwof.aps.ctm

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