Candle Candle in the Darkness, (c) Katie O'Keefe, December 2013, all rights reserved.

It's February and that's a good thing. Throughout the month of January, things come to press on me like bills and taxes, clean-up from Christmas and the worries of winter - grey skies, ice, snow, bitter cold. I gave up on Resolutions long ago because they never last through the month. All in all, February is a respite for me from those worries because in February, Lent begins.

You may be thinking, "What is she talking about? February is cold and grey, far too short, and Lent is a time of penitence."

And you would be right, but that's exactly why Lent is so beautiful.

Imagine that you are in our bedroom and it's dark. You can't even see the hand in front of your face and you keep bumping into things and stubbing your toes and barking your shins. You can get used to the darkness and see a little bit, but there are still things that escape your notice (like the castor at the foot of the bed - Ouch!)

Now imagine that you ask someone to light a match. Suddenly, you can see shapes and maybe even faces and expressions. It's when the room is darkest that the smallest light makes the biggest impact. One small flame can make the room seem much more manageable.

In this same way, the darkness in our lives - the sadness of loss, the anxieties of the moment, the ordinariness of the every day - can allow us to more clearly see God working our lives if only we ask Him to light the match.

Lent helps us do exactly that. Through penance, we turn to God, blinded by the even the most oppressive darkness -stubbed toes, barked shins and all. God is the one with the box of matches. One spark of that Light can illuminate our whole lives. We just have to ask Him to strike that match and He will.

Copyright 2015 Kate O'Keefe 

Art/photography: Candle in the Darkness, (c) Katie O'Keefe, December 2013, all rights reserved.