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Punching holes in the darkness

I had never heard the story shared by Adam Hamilton in his 2013 Inaugural Prayer Service Sermon. He said,

I’ll be telling the old story about Robert Louis Stevenson. Stevenson, the 19th-century author, once told how, as a boy, he’d been sitting in front of the window at nightfall, watching the lamplighter light the gas street lamps.  He would erect a ladder at one post, he would climb up and light the lamp or the torch, then he’d take it down and go the next one and the next one. And his father walked into the room and he said, “Son what are you looking at? What do you see out there that’s so fascinating?”

And the young Stevenson said, “Daddy, I’m watching that man out there knock holes in the darkness.”

Nothing like a great image to hold in your mind as you navigate ski slopes on a Colorado mountain. It’s snowing and foggy and cold. I can barely see my family a few yards ahead of me. We take the lift up for one last run and there it is. The ‘orb.’ My funny daughter Stephanie coined this phrase on a ski trip some years ago. It announces the welcome appearance of the sun.

“Hola orb,” we say.

And there it is, poking through thick clouds, piercing a hole in the dim gray. It has blazed a patch of blue around a perfect circle of flame. I can’t get my camera on it quickly enough before the cloud cover shrouds it again. It teases me.

Lustrous mogul field

Lustrous mogul field

By afternoon, the blue sky is brilliant.

I marvel at the shimmer off of an entire slope of perfect mogul mounds. (I look from the bottom, of course.) I must pause to capture the moment in a photo. But I cannot dawdle. My family has already started down the slope. Soon they will be out of sight.

I start my descent but turn to look back at the lovely scene behind me. I want to stay, to keep looking, but the rear-facing rotation pulls me off balance. I must choose.

Before me is the clear, crisp snow. A wide path dotted with other skiers but ripe with options for my path down the mountain. They are no longer shrouded in fog and snow. I see them clearly now. Gracias, orb.

I’m meant to move forward in the illumination it provides.

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