Tuesday marked our summer solstice. It was the longest period of light that we will see this year. Everything is downhill from here. We only had 20 hours and 35 minutes of light yesterday according to Weather Underground’s website. Tomorrow will be 14 seconds shorter. Now, I don’t know about you, but when daylight hours end after midnight and start up again by 4 a.m., my waking hours are all filled with light. Laugh at me if you will, but I still need to be awake during the day.
When my wife and I arrived four years ago, we loved these summer hours. We could finish up in the office at 9 p.m. and still have several hours to go explore this wonderful island — at least within the limitations of the road system with minor trails. We took advantage of every moment and had a wonderful time. However, it didn’t take very many weeks to realize that if we were going to be able to function in the office, we needed to set some sleeping hours. That even required us to get heavy shades to put in the bedroom so that we could block out the light. Even when we were asleep, when our bodies detected light, they wanted to get up and enjoy it.
The reverse occurred during the winter months. Our bodies wanted to go to bed by 7 p.m., but we still had curfews to monitor, food to digest, and just unwinding in general from the day before we went to bed. Our bodies react to the lack of light as vigorously as they react to light. I’m quite sure that if I didn’t have to get up, that I could sleep at least 12 hours a night during the winter. It isn’t even because I growl a lot more in the winter that I want to hibernate.
It is no coincidence that the Scriptures have much to say about darkness and light. Isaiah tells us, “The people walking in darkness have seen a great light; on those living in the land of deep darkness a light has dawned.” Jesus tells us in the Gospel of John, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.” Light is sometimes portrayed as truth. Falsehoods are portrayed as darkness. Justice and righteousness are sometimes portrayed as light, while darkness leads to bondage and sin.
Our bodies are not the only part of us that cry out for light and rejoice in its presence. Our emotional well-being is affected by the light or lack of it. In the same way, our spiritual well-being is affected. The Psalmist writes, “Righteousness and justice are the foundation of your throne; love and faithfulness go before you. Blessed are those who have learned to acclaim you, who walk in the light of your presence, Lord. They rejoice in your name all day long; they celebrate your righteousness. For you are their glory and strength, and by your favor you exalt our horn. Indeed, our shield belongs to the Lord, our king to the Holy One of Israel.”
It is my intention to enjoy as much light as I can this summer — and still be able to function during the workday — but the great movement of the planets and the sun do not control the amount of light I expose to my soul. Only time in God’s word and God’s presence in prayer can bring light to my soul. I plan on enjoying the light with all of my being.