Imagine being born and raised in a house with no windows. The only light you know is artificial. You have read about this thing called sunlight, but you can only imagine it as something like the brightest artificial light you have ever seen. Others who have devoted their lives to studying the concept of sunlight, write books and teach classes about its wonders. But none of these scholars believe it is possible to actually experience it, at least not in this life. Sunlight, they are certain, is of another realm.
Late one night there is a knock on the door. A passing traveler is seeking a place to rest. He soon begins to speak of strange things like sunlight and darkness, as if these are natural and commonplace in his experience. For all you know about sunlight, you don’t see how this is possible. You understand light and darkness because you have turned off your artificial lights often. Occasionally your bulbs have burned out and you know what it is to desperately feel your way through darkness.
As the traveler continues to speak, you notice the scholars become increasingly agitated. The things this man is saying go against everything they know and teach about sunlight. He is not only presenting a challenge to what they teach, he is challenging their credibility.
The traveler seems to understand their dilemma. He points to the door and explains that any may pass through it and see for themselves the reality of sunlight. One brave soul cracks open the door, but because it is night, all he sees is more darkness. The traveler is obviously delusional. The scholars hold a meeting and decide they will invite the traveler to leave.
Something in his eyes tells you this traveler is telling the truth. You ask if you can go with him and of course he agrees. As the two of you walk through the darkness of night, the traveler explains that the sky in the east will begin to brighten, and the sun will rise. Because the darkness of night prevails, you begin to wonder if leaving your house and the people you have always known was the right thing. It appears the scholars were right after all.
The traveler seems to understand your doubts. He explains that you do not need to believe him. All you need to do is be patient and wait for the dawn. Everything in you wants to bolt, to return to the life you know. The traveler invites you to sit with him on a fallen tree by the road. There he points to the eastern sky and says simply, “Watch.”
You watch but nothing changes. You’re starting to feel foolish for believing this stranger. You know much about sunlight because you have read every book that every scholar has written. The continued darkness you see confirms everything they have taught, everything you know to be true.
Restless, you are about to stand and return to your home. But you stop because you see that something on the horizon appears to have changed. The sky does seem to be getting lighter. But this is not possible. You blink. Once. Twice. You rub your eyes and you look again. This time you don’t have to struggle to see that the sky is definitely growing brighter. Soon, the edge of what appears to be a great orb breaks over the horizon. You watch in awe as it climbs into the sky. Soon you cannot look directly at it, but you feel the warmth of its radiance. What’s more, the world around you lights up. Long shadows slowly disappear. Unlike the circles of incandescent light that you have thus far known, this light is omnipresent, flooding every nook and cranny of all that you can see.
You glance at your traveling companion who is looking back at you, his eyes full of compassion. He seems to understand why you doubted him. He also seems to understand why the people in the windowless house cling to their incandescent religion. There is no condemnation in his eyes. Nor is there a hint of superiority.
The traveler looks around at the bright, sunlit world surrounding you and he says, “What you now see has always been here. I did not create it. I simply walked through the same door that you did. You see, the very thing I did, you did as well.”
Your companion stands to leave and your instinct is to go with him. He seems to know your intention but he looks back toward the house from which you came.
“I think you’re needed there,” he says.
With a smile and a pat to your shoulder, he turns and walks away. You take a deep breath, survey the beautiful landscape. With a heart full of unconditional joy, you start back to the house from which you came.