Your eye is the lamp of your body. When your eyes are good, your whole body also is full of light. But when they are bad, your body is full of darkness. Be careful, then, that the light within you is not darkness. So if your whole body is full of light, with no part of it in darkness, you will be radiant, as though a lamp were shining on you.”Jesus Christ – from The Gospel of St. Luke (Berean Study Bible)
It’s more than just an old cliché that the eyes are the windows of the soul (see William Blake’s quote below). You know when you look into someone’s eyes exactly what’s inside them: darkness or light. Some would say that I’m oversimplifying things, and, to an extent, I am. But we reflect that upon which we fix our gaze. I see it most clearly in children. You can tell where they fix their gaze by noting their obsessions. You can see it in adults, too.
This life’s dim windows of the soulWilliam Blake
Distorts the heavens from pole to pole
And leads you to believe a lie
When you see with, not through, the eye.
For too much of my life, I’ve allowed myself to become overwhelmed by darkness. Why? Because of where I’ve fixed my eyes. Now, I’m not suggesting that we close ourselves off from that which is horrible, but true. Self-imposed blindness is a foolish choice in favor of perpetual darkness. We must not be blind to the atrocities around us so that we can be agents of light and healing in a hurting world. But we cannot bring that light and healing if we only fix our eyes on the atrocities. We must not neglect the “coruscations of light” that surround us every day. I have to thank C. S. Lewis for that phrase, straight out of That Hideous Strength (a challenging, but timely read).
What follows is one evening’s reflection on the beauty around me in the midst of chaos and darkness, a reminder that my eye is the lamp of my body, and I’ve been invited to be radiant, regardless of what’s going on around me. You’re invited, too!
Coruscations of Light – Vincent H. Anastasi
I am not ignorant of the dark,
the way it presses in, suffocating,
seeking to exceed its bounds,
to stifle dawns and shorten days.
Its leaden underbelly looms,
an infectious raptor
obscuring azure skies,
ever pursuing mirror-hearts
wherein it replicates
the malediction of blindness
promulgated by hatred
in the absence, or defiance, of light.
Still, I am not ill-at-ease
or undone by all that appears
formless and empty:
the darkness that shrouds the deep.
In the chaos, I tune my heartstrings
to the fathomless intonation
from which all things draw their being –
the tri-syllabic conception
of such coruscations of light:
Let there be pre-dawn birdsong hallowings,
clover-riddled lawns humming with honeybees
spreading life between firework flowers!
Let there be flaming cardinal flashings
about the boughs of aged oak trees,
the luminescent effervescence
of lightning bug laudations of a mid-summer’s eve!
Let there be candle flames dancing
in some unseen draft that carries
the buoyant joy of children’s laughter!
In such an atmosphere of prophetic illumination,
those tenebrous depths are tenuous at best
and only serve to amplify the ubiquitous glow
that radiates from those who, with unveiled faces,
turn toward unapproachable light.