I wanted to share a simple thought I’ve been pondering since being on a walk yesterday in some unfamiliar woods. The woods are near my parents’ house, so one would expect I could not get too lost there. But in these woods there were many different directions and not one distinct path. I had never entered this area before, and I’m not an expert nature walker. I walked for a while and then thought I was heading back in the direction I had come, but nothing looked familiar.
At first I tried following these little signs that were on the trees, thinking they were leading to a particular place. But they did not seem to be taking me closer to where I needed to be in order to get home. I started to try to figure out which direction I should be going, but I just felt lost and had a brief moment of panic.
As I kept walking, not knowing whether I was going in the right direction to reach a desired destination, the one thing that ultimately led me to a way out of the woods was simply finding some light. In the midst of the darkness of the woods, I saw light from one direction. As I followed that light, I finally found myself in a parking lot which still was not familiar but from which I could find my way home fairly easily.
When we find ourselves feeling lost or not knowing which direction to take, we often seek some sort of sign to lead us forward. We want something blaring in the sky to tell us which way to go. For me this rarely happens, though I know of some people who have had such experiences. But if we can seek the light, whatever that may mean at any given moment, we will find our way. Light is not hard to identify because it usually brings clarity and peace.
After this experience for some reason I thought of the word “gloaming”. It refers to twilight or dusk, but it comes from a root simply meaning “glow”. Mary Baker Eddy uses it in Science and Health here: “The adult, in bondage to his beliefs, no more comprehends his real being than does the child; and the adult must be taken out of his darkness, before he can get rid of the illusive sufferings which throng the gloaming.” (371).
When we are experiencing “the gloaming”, it may seem very frightening. The “illusive sufferings” can feel very real. Maybe it is a time of transition in our lives that seems to bring on this state, or maybe we are dealing with remorse, or maybe it seems we have lost something and are having to overcome grief. But this is a promising moment because there is a glow, the glow of divine Love that surrounds us. And each of us has a light that shines and cannot be put out. We just need to get out of the darkness and keep following that light. It is there- look for it and go in that direction. The rest will become clear when it needs to.