Learning to Walk in the Dark Barbara Brown Taylor
New York: Harper One, 2014.
Interestingly, I began reading this book in Advent. All around me I heard about the light shining in the darkness as I saw the days getting shorter. In this book, I was being called to embrace the darkness. This is a struggle for me. I am not afraid of the dark, but I do startle more easily at night and in the darkness. I find myself reaching for the light switch when I enter a room whether I need it or not. While reading this book, I tried to be in the darkness a bit more. I still prefer to the sunlight because most things are easier to do when one can see. I do think that a number of great points are presented about how we have demonized the darkness. I’m still learning to walk in the dark. Thanks to this book I’m more willing to keep learning.
I enjoyed journeying with Barbara Brown Taylor into the dark. I appreciated her attempt to reclaim language of darkness as important to our faith lives. I recommend this book for people who don’t always want to be in the light or sunshine, for people who find themselves awake in the dark, for people who dream and wonder about the many dream stories in the Bible, and for anyone wanting to explore and live into their faith more deeply. Step into the darkness. God is there waiting for you.
“We are all seeking company, meaning, solace, self-forgetfulness. Whether we ever found those things or not, it was the seeking that led us to find each other in the cloud even when we had nothing else in common. Sometimes I wondered if it even mattered whether our communion cups were filled with consecrated wine or draft beer, as long as we bent over them long enough to recognize each other as kin” (53).
“According to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual IV, sometimes called “the psychiatrist’s Bible,” patients grieving the death of a loved one are allowed two months for symptoms such as sadness, insomnia, and loss of appetite. If their grief goes on longer than that, they may be diagnosed with depression and treated with prescription drugs…emotions such as grief, fear, and despair have gained a reputation as “the dark emotions” not because they are noxious or abnormal but because Western culture keeps them shuttered in the dark” (77).
“Who would stick around to wrestle a dark angel all night long if there were any chance of escape? The only answer I can think of is this: someone in deep need of blessing; someone willing to limp forever for the blessing that follows the wound” (85).
“Resurrection is always announced with Easter lilies, the sound of trumpets, bright streaming light. But it did not happen that way. If it happened in a cave, it happened in complete silence, in absolute darkness, with the smell of damp stone and dug earth in the air” (129).