Of Light, When We Cannot See It

I wrote this for my congregation’s January newsletter.

They say that it’s darkest just before the dawn. Perhaps that’s physically true, but they usually don’t mean a sky without sunlight. They’re saying that rescue, recovery, revelation, or some other relief we seek comes only after – shortly after – we are stretched to our personal limits.

That was Joseph Smith’s experience in the grove, for example. Just as he felt himself on the verge of destruction, the pillar of light appeared (JS-H 1:16). We trust in our own happy outcomes too; in the end our darkness will be just that thing that happened for a while before the lights came back on.

That’s true, but it can be difficult to believe, when all we see and feel is darkness.

Huntley Fitzpatrick: “I passed on the scotch and the smokes, but kept writing.”

Yesterday, somewhat randomly, I ran into an author’s biography at Amazon.com, to which I point you for its style as much as its insight. Her name is Huntley Fitzpatrick. Apparently, she writes young adult fiction — how well or how prominently, I cannot say. I know of her only what I read there.

Here are some excerpts from her Amazon author page, where you should read the whole brief bio, if her charm speaks to you too.

I was lucky enough to be born to parents who read every kind of written material with interest and enthusiasm, and let me do the same. From the start I searched for books that let me fall in love…with the story and with the boy. For most of my childhood I divided my devotion between Almanzo Wilder from The Little House books, C.S. Lewis’ Prince Caspian and Tom in Louisa May Alcott’s An Old Fashioned Girl.

I figured out early that stories were what made sense of the world when it was confusing and made the best moments permanent. I was shy and nearsighted but good at anything that involved reading and imagining, so quickly decided the only logical career to pursue was writing. To this end my father gave me a typewriter (it was a long time ago), a package of Lucky Strike cigarettes, a bottle of Scotch and a note advising me to “Be Bold, Be Bold, Be Bold.” For my tenth birthday.

C. S. Lewis on Prayer and More

I was looking for some things C. S. Lewis said on praying for people we don’t like, including tyrants, for something over at FreedomHabit.com, when I encountered these gems:

  • “In praying for people one dislikes I find it helpful to remember that one is joining in His prayer for them.” (a 1951 letter)
  • “We must lay before Him what is in us, not what ought to be in us.” (Letters to Malcolm: Chiefly on Prayer, Chapter 4)
  • “For most of us the prayer in Gethsemane is the only model. Removing mountains can wait.” (Letters to Malcolm: Chiefly on Prayer, Chapter 11)
  • “You don’t teach a seed how to die into treehood by throwing it in the fire: and it has to become a good seed before it’s worth burying.” (3 December 1959 letter)

The last of these suggests a good goal: to become a good seed, “worth burying,” before I am buried.