Between Friends

A text exchange between friends \\ 10:45 AM \\ December 18, 2019


Friend: Checking in on you today – you keep crossing my mind. Wondering how your spirits are, and the sense of “darkness”?


Me: Lovely timing…


Friend: Crazy how that works


Me: The thing about advent is that its a journey from darkness to light…

the dark is uncomfortable at first, and then seductive…a comfy place to stay and brood…the promise of light feels a little too much at first, the light itself a little harsh

And then the memory that the dark is in service of the light and stepping towards it is not fatal but generative

Feeling more on that side of things these days



Friend: No!! So good, and as usually happens with ‘lovely timing’, the words coming back my way were hand-picked for today. Thanks David!!

Here’s to stepping towards the light…


And a few hours later, “friend” sends the perfect poem to encourage me to keep stepping:


From (Rainer Maria) Rilke’s “Book of Hours”:

God speaks to each of us as he makes us,
then walks with us silently out of the night.

These are the words we dimly hear:

You, sent out beyond your recall,
go to the limits of your longing.
Embody me.

Flare up like flame
and make big shadows I can move in.

Let everything happen to you: beauty and terror.
Just keep going. No feeling is final.
Don’t let yourself lose me.

Nearby is the country they call life.
You will know it by its seriousness.

Give me your hand.

i see light in the darkness text

Photo by Brett Sayles on

A tug at the sleeve

It’s an idea, maybe just an impulse.

It’s many strands or pieces, disparate at first, less so as they converge.

It’s the maturation of a point of view, the solidification of a belief system, the coming into one’s own perspective.

It’s a persistent knocking, invitational in tone. It’s the other side of the door, the side you don’t yet see but are closer to discovering than ever before.

It’s the tug at the sleeve, the nudge, the shift, the lean forward, towards what has been taking shape behind the veil of a daily life.

It’s coming into focus. Not quite yet, but soon. And that’s ok because you’re not ready. Not quite.

But the tug is there, and you notice it. And noticing, for now, is enough.

landscape mountains sunset person

Photo by Josh Willink on

Silence Amidst the Noise

Above all, be alone with it all,
a hiving off, a corner of silence
amidst the noise, refuse to talk,
even to yourself, and stay in this place
until the current of the story
is strong enough to float you out.

{from Coleman’s Bed by David Whyte}

The season of Advent has an exceptional quality of quiet, reflective waiting. It is a period of darkness, punctuated by the seasonal reality of the shortest days of the year, within which exists both the invitation and the expectation of the gift of light. It is no accident that the shortest day of the year comes right at the end of this time.

This brief four-week season, as it is understood in the context of Christianity, can also be thought of as a time of filling up. Gradually we gather our thoughts and reflections, we attempt to live the questions of our own becoming with intention and we work to stay grounded in the simplicity of a period of time, the sole purpose of which is to mark the birth of an immigrant child into the humblest possible circumstances.

It is that birth that we understand as the light that finally punctuates the darkness, a new life representing the blessing of all living things and, for believers, the incarnate promise of everlasting life.

But that’s getting ahead of things. That light is still a long way off and that filling up has only just begun.

For now, it is the dark and the quiet that command my attention and support my intention. To find the “silence amidst the noise” is a gift to myself as I attempt to reconcile my unanswered questions against the certainty the world demands. To rush what cannot be rushed is to seek protection from the anxiety of feeling stuck.

To stay here, in these questions during this time, is to trust that there is water rising (even if I cannot see it) and the current is forming (even if I cannot feel it) and that if I can just hold on long enough it will float me out of the darkness of the unknown and into the light of understanding.

leaf floating on body of water

Photo by Cole Keister on

Ready the Way

Shovel in the dirt the day after a storm.
Saturated clay soil shot through with palm roots; not easy going.
Finally, just enough amended space to receive five gallon trees and shrubs.
I spread the mulch, kneeling down to smooth it around the thin trunks,
damp and dirty jeans seasoned by direct contact.
An act of prayer as rain clouds recede.
A season of waiting begins today.

DAVID BERRY is the author of “A More Daring Life: Finding Voice at the Crossroads of Change” and the founder of RULE13 Learning. He speaks and writes about the complexity of leading in a changing world. Connect with him on Twitter at @berrydavid.