On the longest night of the year, it is dark by 4 pm. People move through the grocery store pushing carts heavy with food for celebrations this week. This labor of love, this warm kitchen, these hands that stir and pour and knead, this waning act in the quiet of night.
On the longest night of the year, the landscape is dotted with lights. If I approach one, will I find a lamppost? A sign, a direction, some way into another world? It takes everything in me to drive where I am supposed to go instead of plunging off the map and into that darkness with its firefly lights.
On the longest night of the year, I might have cried. There is too much pain in the world, even in my world sometimes, and the night came so quickly today, burying us all in the barren winter earth.
On the longest night of the year, someone sings Alleluia. The music rains down upon us and washes us with something like joy. Its coolness stings my skin, as if a great long drought has caused me to forget.
On the longest night of the year, the people will stay inside and reach for something they know. A loved one, an old journal, a food tied to a memory, a dog-eared book. This reaching is how we find our truths, over and over, how we put a name to that great meaning of life that so often seems to escape us. We all need something familiar to walk with us through the dark.
On the longest night of the year, I will have no words of wisdom for you. I will have no answers to the deepest questions. I will have no fascinating story to tell or exciting adventure to go on. I will offer all I have, which is part lament and part gratitude, part wonder and part love.
I will offer you my hand, and I will stay beside you during this longest, dark night. I hope that will be enough. And as we walk here, I will dream of the moment we will finally be unearthed and unburied, the moment when then weight of our roots will burst the earth open and the light will touch us again.