Light and hope: finding a metaphor

The light in my bathroom was out for a few months. My husband and I tried a few troubleshooting things. It wasn’t the lightbulb. It wasn’t the breaker. It wasn’t the outlet. At a loss, and not really wanting to deal with finding an electrician, we started to just make do. We got used to the dim showers, the shadows draping over the sink.

At first, every time I entered the bathroom my hands would automatically gravitate toward the light switch. I’d hear the click but remain in the dark. My hand would sink back to my side. Right. Dim showers it was. Eventually the disappointment became resignation. My hands no longer tried the switch. The impulse was gone. I would keep my hands at my sides until I needed them to help me find my way in the darkness.

This went on for a few months. It began to feel normal. I forgot what it was like before. But then it started nagging at me again. I asked my husband about it, who asked our friend, who came over a week and a half later to help. It was a simple fix. The homeowner before us had taken some shortcuts, and the power to the switch just needed to be plugged in. Somehow it had gotten loose in our basement. I’m not sure how.

So this evening I turned on the light. It felt strange to put my hand to the wall and feel the bright glow touch my eyes. However, I don’t think it will take very long for my hands to begin automatically reaching for the light switch again. And that makes me think of hope. Hope is like that faith in the light switch. It took me a week or so to stop reaching for the light. But I’m guessing it will only take two trips to the bathroom for me to start reaching again.

Sometimes life can feel like months of reaching for the light switch with nothing to show for it. You might persevere in your hope longer than I did. Maybe your hands would reach for the light switch for months, not just weeks. I think the moral of the story is that hope remains even when hope is given up. The end of my light switch story was never doomed to be darkness forever and ever. The solution was there even in the months that I forgot to look for it. All we had to do was reach out to a friend. Isn’t that how it is with God? The end of the story for a believer is always light. Even when in the darkness I forget to hope, hope is there. Hope isn’t dependent on whether I persevere consistently. Maybe that’s one reason there are other people in our lives, to remind us how to see the hope that is still there. To imagine the light coming on when your hands reach for the switch, and believe it’s actually possible.


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