Last weekend we were in Boston, attending our granddaughter’s Quinceañera. Henry was the officiant for the religious portion of the ceremony. As I have at other family events, including her parents’ wedding, I took photos of the event.

A few days later, I woke early with the song “Dancing in the Dark” in my mind. It was an appropriate song for that event. Dance is a huge part of our granddaughter’s life, so she and her girlfriends performed a dance routine as part of the evening, and there was lots of music and dancing for the rest of us as well. The DJ is a family friend and the dance floor was dark except for perimeter lights that constantly changed color. It made for a great mood—and challenging photography!

I didn’t mind it, actually. I got some good photos, some interesting effects, and was reminded that there’s freedom with dancing in the dark. As a dancer myself, it was fun to get out on the dance floor and move around without worrying about my form or performance. The relative darkness gave us more freedom to move however we wanted.

Other thoughts have woven through my head as I pondered the dark.

I’ve written before about darkness and light, and Tucson’s commitment to being a dark-sky city. Another moment in our trip to New England encapsulates the gift of that darkness for me. We had dinner with a friend whose husband died less than a year ago. In their home sits a very large telescope that her husband had used but her sons do not want. We talked briefly about the possibility of our driving back to Boston on a future trip and bringing home the telescope (it would never fit in an airplane’s overhead bin!) because there are even more stars to see from our backyard now that both trees are gone.

In that prior post, I also touched on how our culture has demonized darkness and lauded light, to the detriment of both dark- and light-skinned peoples. I’m currently editing for reprint a book that addresses those issues directly, and therefore I’m seeing them more clearly in the world around me.

Pure light is blinding, and perhaps therefore more damaging to the eyes than pure darkness would be.

We need both the dark and the light. In Tucson’s summer heat, most of us actively seek out the darkest shade, especially when parking cars. I walk at dawn, choosing the shaded side of each street once the sun peeks over the mountains, since it’s already 80+ degrees outside.

The Quinceañera dance floor was filled with people whose skins ranged widely in tone, from dark to light. All were welcome. All were equal, dancing together in the dark and eating cake in the light. All are created in the image of God.

Can you equally embrace the dark and the light?

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