Sunday before last, my family had a two-and-a-half hour drive home from a small get-together. We were heading west at sunset, hardly an enviable position for the driver, but beautiful for passengers like myself who like to waste time gazing idly out the car windows.
The sun was on our left at first, and a glance at the windshield showed me thick streaks of dust around the edges of the glass. Dirty, drab, and grungy. That was all.
Then we rounded a bend in the road, and the sun was in front of us, and suddenly, the dirt turned into streaks of gold.
People sometimes question why I feel the need to include dark and sometimes terrible elements in my writing. “The world is bad enough as it is,” they say. “You have the chance to create a more perfect world, a better reality. Why don’t you?” My short answer is that God’s reality contains darkness, so isn’t it disrespectful to presume we could do better?
But there is more purpose to it than that cold logic. Because every single one of my readers has their own dirt. Maybe only in their corners, maybe plastering them until it weighs them down with the gravity of imperfection. If a story bursts upon them glittering with untarnished gold, all they can do is escape into that shining world for a little while before falling back to reality after “The End.”
What if, instead, the story comes to them as blemished as they are, or worse? What if it starts there, introducing itself on common ground, before winding through the road of a mirror reality, then finally comes upon the sun? Then the gold flashes upon them, and they blink, realizing “Oh. So the beauty was there all along, just waiting to be lifted up out of the darkness.”
This brings hope. This says, “Keep going, it looks bad now, but there is something out there that can take your dirt and turn it into something beautiful with a single breath.” And the close the book maybe, just maybe, believing things can change.
“I consider that our present sufferings our not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us.” ~ Romans 8:18