I AWOKE AT FOUR THIS MORNING with the phrase “punch holes in the darkness” playing like a song on an endless loop. It was familiar, but I couldn’t connect it with anything.
Drifting in and out of sleep, blocking the annoying replay out partially by sticking an ear phone in my ear to listen to NPR’s Morning Edition. An interesting shift in dialogue seems to be occurring between the leaders of India and Pakistan. Maybe they will begin to punch holes in the darkness. Arggh! There it is again. Okay, time to get up.
The phrase sounded a little familiar. I was sure I had heard it before. But where? What does it mean?
So I googled it up. Most of the references were embedded in various advent sermons. They all include some variation of a story about Robert Louis Stevenson who, during his boyhood in Scotland, reportedly lived on a hillside outside a small town. The stories vary as to whether he was sitting in his family’s kitchen or standing at a bedroom window, but the essence is that, while watching a lamplighter ignite the town’s street lamps, Stevenson said, “Look, mother, there is a man down there punching holes in the darkness.”
I guess I heard it in church sometime, somewhere.
Anyway, I for sure heard it in my head this morning. Not a booming, deep James Earl Jones voice. No burning bushes. But there, nonetheless.
I said earlier that this new year strikes me as a time to concentrate on being “awake” in my life. Awake to the open windows of possibility.
Going back to the Book of Common Prayer, the prayer for the first Sunday of Advent (gone now, this past Sunday was The Epiphany), I found the first prayer begins, “Almighty God, give us grace that we may cast away the works of darkness, and put upon us the armor of light. . . .”
Hmmmn. Well, I’m going to pour a mug of coffee, walk down the gravel road to the gate for the morning paper, and think about it.