Thursday, January 22, 2009

Darkness into Light

It rarely rains in southern California. It’s been predicted all week. Yesterday, finally, the sky was heavy-laden with clouds. It matched my mood. I had been “heading south” for most of the day, each negative thought compounded by the next. My efforts at fighting them off only served to invite even more to jump aboard. Then sick anxiety decided to show up. My heart started tightening like a clenched fist, lifted up in defiance to the sodden sky.

James was infected by his grandmother’s jolly mood, and somberly stared at me with big, brown, questioning eyes. He didn’t buy my half-hearted efforts at being funny as we roamed up and down the unfamiliar grocery store aisles. He laughed, but it was almost as lame as my jokes. He was just trying to be polite. He knew his Mimi wasn’t herself. Kids sense these things. You can’t fake them out, no matter how good an actress you are.

Watching the leaden skies for signs of imminent downpour, I leadenly loaded up the car and the baby. None came. Just an oppressive stillness in the air. Like the dulling limbo we’re living in right now, trapped in a bureaucratic maze of insurance approval.

On the way home, I tried to come up with a Happy Thought. Didn’t work. Then I tried praying again, as I had throughout the day. Most often, it was the prayer from Salinger’s Franny and Zooey. I tried chanting it in my mind, like a Russian monk. Still no peace.

I stared off into space for a minute at a stoplight. When I looked back ahead, I saw an intensely beautiful sight.

The sky was a wonderfully chaotic mix of clouds of all shades and sizes. A huge dark gray one swooped down from the east, fierce in its sudden emergence. It scuttled a stream of smaller bluish-gray ones out to the west. Suddenly, a wide band of blindingly brilliant light came down between and through them, like a shaft descending straight from heaven’s store of luminosity.

It was a startlingly surreal vision. It might have been a scene from one of those good old 1960’s Biblical epics we used to watch in Panoramic vibrancy, wide-eyed in the dark.

Oh, did I mention I’d prayed for some kind of a “sign” earlier in the day?

It never did rain.


"You are my lamp, O LORD; the LORD turns my darkness into light." (2 Samuel 22:29)

"I will lead the blind by ways they have not known, along unfamiliar paths I will guide them; I will turn the darkness into light before them and make the rough places smooth. These are the things I will do; I will not forsake them." (Isaiah 42:16)


Carine said...

Hi Kim -
Thanks for your beautiful words - know that I think of you, Jay, Katherine, James all the time....
Much love, courage, strength,
(from UCLA ICU)

Kim Arnold said... weird...I was just thinking about you this morning, and wondering how I could get in touch with you! I lost my old cell phone with all its 'contacts.' Please send me your email at


ef said...
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Karen said...

Love your blog. I keep repeating myself. I just want you to know, I suppose, that there is this woman out here that you will never meet, more than likely, who checks you every day and prays, and weeps when you weep, and cannot begin to imagine your pain, but nevertheless, admires your faith, courage, transparency, strength, and most of all- your good mothering love skills.