When it was all over, they walked down twenty flights of stairs in the dark. My father, my stepmother, my sister, their dogs. Out of the gleaming glass building, transparent to the storm. Into the watery streets of lower Manhattan, the eerie quiet of a city without power. Into the wreckage of their everyday world.
They drove through streets littered with fallen trees, with trash, with downed power-lines. They drove above subway tunnels filled with water and salt, fish swimming where trains ought to be. They drove past the line of people waiting at Bagel Bob’s, trying to get a hot breakfast. They drove towards home.
What do you seek, when your world lurches and bends? When it is your turn to walk down all the stairs between your own darkness and the world, what is your light? How do you feel your way forward?
Isaiah writes, Those who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength, they shall mount up with wings like eagles, they shall run and not be weary, they shall walk and not be faint. John Claypool observed that these are three different kinds of light: the divine ecstasy that allows us to soar; the guidance to do what needs to happen; and, when all else fails, the strength to walk and not be faint.
Sometimes, all we can do is put one foot in front of another. Perform simple tasks well, because the big ones elude us. Go back to being simple creatures, people who do not understand our world anymore, people who do not understand ourselves. People who creep forward in the darkness, groping for one step at a time, because we remember that once there was light.
In those times, each step is gift. Every single one. And God is our very struggle not to let go. God in us. Emanuel.
(credit top photo: New York Times)