“The cold wind brings me back to the terrace, and somewhere I can hear singing, like the lady at the restaurant earlier that sang the saddest sounding amore’ I have ever heard in my life. That was the only word I understood, and that was enough. In a way, that describes very well what this trip has been for me. Come to think of it, it describes life very well. Despite not understanding, or misunderstanding, the little we do know is many times all we need”
– From Last Night in Lisbon
Life is full of wonderful evenings. Moonlit strolls, with a sketchbook in hand, a stack of books to get lost in, accompanied by a bowl of muesli and a bar of very dark chocolate, times of prayer and reflection, beautiful company, and moments of inspiration on the piano have filled my nights. I have so much to be grateful for.
And then there are times like tonight, when concerns threaten the peace of my heart and restlessness weighs my soul. These evenings seem darker than others and sometimes, I have to admit even lonely, as I bear the cup allotted to me.
But there is wonderful consolation in the darkness. Here we appreciate whatever glow there is, and are reminded to allow even the smallest hope to illuminate our way.
I remember a blind man, led by a boy, who knocked on my window, as I drove to dinner one Sunday evening. I don’t normally like giving money to beggars because I know it encourages all the wrong values, but there was something about this man’s face, his hollow sockets seemed to smile with his lips. There was no pity, or bitterness, or worry, or despair. It was genuinely expectant. It was genuinely hopeful. I found myself questioning God, “Father. How could you deprive him of sight? How could you give someone such a life?” Then I felt a gentle impression – “Renew your mind, David. Renew your mind.”
Then I had a thought: Maybe the man’s blindness, a conventional handicap, was his ticket to an unconventional life. That maybe in the darkness he sees something else, maybe something simpler, maybe something deeper. He will never see what I see. But neither will I see what he does. Though he may never appreciate the tense emotions of Millais’ A Huguenot On St. Bartholomew’s Day, or the vast blue sky from an airplane, or any sky for that matter, maybe, in the absence of the distractions of physical sight, he sees clearer than us all, because maybe he has a better view into the heart.
Renew your mind.
Renew your mind so you can trust. Renew your mind and find purpose in all things, and hope in every situation. Renew your mind so that you will remember that the one who sees a part will never understand as completely as the one who sees all.
So tonight, I am grateful for the darkness. Hoping that in my darkness, I may help someone understand, just as the blind man in his, helped me see.