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summer night fireflies

Light in the darkness: Baker's firefly

Published August 29, 2009 when Baker was 13 years old.
Over and over again that week at divinity school, I was asked how my summer had been. I was seeing folk I'd not seen since last semester and the question was more of a greeting than an inquiry. I knew that, but I stumbled every time to say something that could sum up the last three months. It was a hard summer in many ways, and it felt almost deceptive to dismiss the greeting with “Fine, thanks. You?”

Eventually, I settled on a response sort of like this: “Actually, it was hard: I experienced a lot of losses this summer. Most of them were minor, some were a little more unsettling, and one was nearly overwhelmingBaker in August 2009. And yet, this summer I witnessed the goodness of God in remarkable ways.”

It’s true. The summer was hard, but there were some amazing, almost miraculous moments. I was able to see those moments, in part, because of a conversation I had with my son towards the end of July. It went something like this.

“Hey Mom I think I thought of something pretty profound.”

“Oh yeah, Baker, what was that?”

“Well I was looking at fireflies, ya know?”

“Yeah.”

“See, it’s like they are all around us in the dark, and we don't realize it. Then they light up and suddenly we know they've been there all along.”

“Okay.”

“And I think that’s kind of like Jesus is. Sometimes, we can't really see Jesus because of what’s going on in our life.”

“The darkness?”

“Right. And then something happens to remind us that Jesus has been there the whole time.”

“The light.”

“Yeah.” Baker, hands on hips, grinned. “That’s pretty profound don’t you think?”

"I do indeed, Baker-boy, I do indeed."

In the beginning was the Word,
and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.
He was in the beginning with God.
All things came into being through him,
and without him not one thing came into being.
What has come into being in him was life,
and the life was the light of all people.
The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not overcome it.
John 1:1-5 NRSV