Light here is a critical part of everyday life. The sun sets my internal clock. I know it’s really time to get out of bed when there is light coming through the curtain. If the sun is up it means I need to be productive- either at school, or cooking, or preparing for the next day. As twilight approaches, it’s time to be home. I get tired almost as soon as the sun is down. Once it is really dark out, it’s time to go to bed.
Not only does it set my schedule, but light also has come to mean safety. Traveling through town and between cities- the roads are just not safe to drive on at night. Some of the safety of light is purely mental. The first night I got here the light in my bedroom was not working. I was trying to unpack in a completely new place, and by the light of a headlamp. It was so discouraging and scary that night to feel all alone in a dark bedroom. In addition, the porch light of my house doesn’t work, and it’s a bit unnerving coming home in the dark, even if it’s just from the duplex next door. It is hard to see all the locks and fit the keys in, but once I am inside and safe and in the light it is so much better.
Early in the mornings, when the sun has just risen it is very cold- it is hard to keep my toes on my feet as we walk to school in the new morning sun. Walking in the sun, however, is so much better than walking in the shade or being in the house. The longer the sun is out, the warmer it gets. Walking home in the afternoon is warm and wonderful, especially when there is a breeze. I pack away my jacket and sweater, put back on my Chacos, and soak it up!
Being in the light of the sun is warming and feels great, but after a while it is also exhausting. Especially here where we are so much closer to the Equator than I am used to, a day in the sun is draining. Even just standing and sitting in the sun watching sports on Saturday was so tiring. Sunday, Mary and I spent the afternoon at a park, and even though we didn’t do much (we did play with some children for a while), we were so exhausted when we got home!
So as great as the sunlight makes me feel, the night sky here is pretty amazing. With the decrease in artificial light, the stars are multiplied in number and brightness. We can even see the Milky Way. The other night there was a lunar eclipse, but unfortunately I didn’t hear about it until the day after when all my learners asked me if I had stayed up to see it. I wish I could put into words how amazing the starry sky looks here, but it really is incredible.
I heard a man tell a story the other day about hunting in his childhood in Namibia. He said they would hunt “jungle hares” and easily kill them by simply shining artificial light at them. The hares would freeze, confused by this strange phenomenon, and it was then easily caught and killed. Now days, these jungle hares are used to the lights, and know to run away as soon as they see them. It is so interesting to me how everything adapts to technology.
I finally was able to go to church this past Sunday- our principal took us. It was a very nice service, and it was great to hear the church sing about the glory of God. The sermon talked about Christ as the light of the world, and how we are supposed to show His light until his return. What a wonderful reminder. Not only should this encourage our spirit, but also encourage our actions. Pray that I will be a light at my school and that I will find other ways to serve while I am here.
It is clear that I allow the light that God created to affect my actions, give me courage, change my attitudes, give me energy, and inspire awe- may the same be said for the light that is God- Christ Jesus.
This is the message we have heard from him and proclaim to you, that God is light and in Him there is no darkness at all.