May 6, 2013 Not Knowing When the Dawn Will Come

“Not knowing when the dawn will come, I open every door.”

-Emily Dickinson

river house night

Every time I read this, I think of a woman standing in the center of a house, the stars twinkling in the ebony sky above her, and she is waiting….waiting. Her eyes are closed, her breath is quicker than normal, but steady; her heart ready to skip a beat the moment it happens.

 Darkness surrounds her tiny, country laden abode. Out of time and out of sorts, she had awakened to find that the sun had not yet risen, the light had not yet flooded her morning, the dawn had not yet arrived. She raced around the house, throwing sashes and locks, curtains and closet doors, feverishly preparing for something that had not yet come to pass. The sticking point—she believed that it would.  Whether or not she had witnessed the raising of the dawn prior to this, or if this was more of an “All Summer in a Day1” kind of moment, only your imagination can decide. I believe that she does all of those things, making herself breathless…opening every closest and uncovering every crevice, pushing aside every window covering and throwing open with great expectation, every – single-door. And as this story started out, there she is—in the center of it all—waiting.

The epiphany I had as I opened my front door to greet the morning (it happens most mornings, but not always so crisp and clearly), was an underlying yet overwhelming desire to immerse myself in the glorious light of my Creator. To not let go, not give up, hold on no matter what the circumstances of each day brings… Ms. Emily Dickinson did more than wait with hopeful expectation and knowing. She wasn’t being foolish or unrealistic. In one phrase, she uncovered the face of an ailing humanity and our deepest desperation for personal contact with Christ.

The truth is, we don’t know when the metaphorical dawns of life will come. We can guess. Based on previous experiences or sound logic we can plan for its arrival…(go ahead and pause for a minute and read this next part slowly)…But it is our faith, our hope, and our innermost spirit that assures us it / he is coming. And because we believe as such, we should be equally transparent the moment the light breaks through…we should be standing at the ready, doors hanging open to every nook and cranny that houses even the least bit of darkness and let the blessed starlight sing above us as we wait…wait for the rising of the dawn to shatter all that surrounds us and illuminate the childlike spirit begging to overflow with divine joy.

In the spirit of poetry, I say to myself, “Not knowing when the dawn will come…” and I smile as I unlatch the first of many doors.


  1. “All Summer in a Day” is a short by Ray Bradbury

Job 38: 14
14 As the light approaches, the earth takes shape like clay pressed beneath a seal; it is robed in brilliant colors.

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