When the Lights Go Out
Updated: Apr 1, 2020
I remember at least two instances in my life (though probably a few others if I tried) where I turned the lights out on something for the last time, and I began to cry. One was in the summer of 2008 in Philadelphia. I was directing a summer project for students there, and it was one of the hardest yet more rewarding times of my life. I invested a lot of time and energy in the students, and I’ll never forget the final night turning the lights out in our main gathering room. The next day I would see everyone off, and the next few days we would debrief as a staff. But something about hitting the lights that night brought me to tears. It felt like the end of something. It was the end of the project, but it felt deeper than that. It was. We would never experience what we experienced that summer together again. Things were going to change moving forward, and a big part of me was not ready to go there. I wanted things to stay the way they were for longer. Turning the lights out that night meant accepting that this time was over, and moving forward things would be different.
I’m sure that many, if not all, who are reading this have felt this before. Perhaps you have felt this many times in your life. It is a mixture of sadness and nervousness. Honestly, this is a little how I feel right now. Everyday it feels like someone is turning lights off in our society. I know I will still see everyone “tomorrow”, but something is ending, too. We won’t experience life the same way we were before. In a sense, I’m not ready for it to end. Things are changing before our very eyes, and for some it is too much too quick. Soon we will be talking about the “post-COVID-19” world. We will look back and remember the way things were before this pandemic just as some of us can remember life before 9/11. For now, it is all happening in real time, and we are all feeling all sorts of feelings. Some are feeling sad, some terrified, some depressed, some angry, some bitter, some cynical, some confused, and on and on. I’ve not met the person who is happy and just overjoyed at everything that’s happening. These are trying times for sure, and we are all about to be thoroughly tested.
I am reminded of how Jesus ended what’s called the sermon on the mount in Matthew 7:24-27. He says, “Everyone then who hears these words of mine and does them will