Scriptural references to Light fascinate me, especially about light in darkness. Light continues to be my most studied topic. Doctrine and Covenants 88 and 93 are especially favorite chapters. These verses from Doctrine and Covenants 88 fill my mind with so many questions about the hows and whats and whos and wheres and whys.

He that ascended up on high, as also he descended below all things, in that he comprehended all things, that he might be in all and through all things, the light of truth;

Which truth shineth. This is the light of Christ. As also he is in the sun, and the light of the sun, and the power thereof by which it was made.

And the light which shineth, which giveth you light, is through him who enlighteneth your eyes, which is the same light that quickeneth your understandings;

Which light proceedeth forth from the presence of God to fill the immensity of space—

The light which is in all things, which giveth life to all things, which is the law by which all things are governed, even the power of God who sitteth upon his throne, who is in the bosom of eternity, who is in the midst of all things.

I read someone’s experience of finding light in darkness that made these verses tangible for me. He vividly described Light that was in and through all things. His name is Jacques Lusseyran.

An accident left seven-year-old Jacques completely blind. In his autobiography, And There Was Light, Jacques described how losing his sight enabled him to discover something remarkable — Light in his darkness. His description of his discovery and experiences is soul-stirring.

 

From Darkness

 

candleI looked in the direction where I was in the habit of seeing before the accident, and there was anguish, a lack, something like a void which filled me with what grownups call despair.

 

Finally, one day, and it was not long in coming, I realized that I was looking in the wrong way. It was a simple as that. I was making something very like the mistake people make who change their glasses without adjusting themselves. I was looking too far off, and too much on the surface of things.

 

At this point some instinct – I was almost about to say a hand laid on me – made me change my course. I began to look more closely, not at things but at a world closer to myself, looking from an inner place to one further within.

 

Immediately, the substance of the universe drew together, redefined and peopled itself anew. I was aware of a radiance emanating from a place I knew nothing about. … But radiance was there, or, to put it more precisely, Light. It was a fact, for Light was there.

 

I felt indescribable relief, and happiness so great it almost made me laugh. Confidence and gratitude came as if a prayer had been answered. I found Light and joy at the same moment, and I can say without hesitation that from that time on, light and joy have never been separated in my experience. I have had them or lost them together. I saw light and went on seeing it though I was blind.

 

I was not light myself, I knew that. I could feel light rising, resting on objects, giving them form, then leaving them. … For at every waking hour and even in my dreams I lived in a stream of light.

 

Without my eyes, Light was much more stable than it had been with them. As I remember it, there were no longer the same differences between things lightened brightly, less brightly, or not at all. I saw the whole world in light, existing through it and because of it.

 

Light threw its color on things and people. … Light was my whole reason for living. I let it rise in me like water in a well, and I rejoiced.

 

Since it was not I who was making the light, since it came to me from outside, it would never leave me. I was only a passageway, a vestibule for this brightness.

 

Still, there were times when the light faded, almost to the point of disappearing. It happened every time I was afraid.

 

Anger and impatience had the same effect, throwing everything into confusion. The minute before I knew just where everything in the room was, but if I got angry, things …went and hid in the most unlikely corners, mixed themselves up.

 

When I was playing with my small companions, if I suddenly grew anxious to win, to be the first at all costs, then all at once I could see nothing. Literally, I went into fog or smoke.

 

I could no longer afford to be jealous or unfriendly, because, as soon as I was, a bandage came down over my eyes, and I was bound hand and foot. All at once, a black hole opened, and I was helpless inside it. But when I was happy and serene, I was rewarded with light. So is it surprising that I loved friendship and harmony when I was very young?

 

Armed with such a tool, why should I need a moral code? For me, this tool took the place of red and green lights. I always knew where the road was open and where it was closed. I had only to look at the bright signal which taught me how to live.

 

How could I have lived all that time without realizing that everything in the world has a voice and speaks? Not just the things that are supposed to speak, but the others, like the gate, the walls of the houses, the shade of trees, and the sand and the silence. …

 

Sounds had the same individuality as light. They were neither inside nor outside, they were passing through me. They gave me my bearings in space and put me in touch with things. …

 

When I had eyes, my fingers used to be stiff, half dead at the ends of my hands, good only for picking up things. But now each one of them started out on its own. They explored things separately, changed levels and, independently of each other, made themselves heavy or light.

 

Movement of the fingers was terribly important, and had to be uninterrupted because objects do not stand at a given point, fixed there, confined in one form. They are alive, even the stones. What is more they vibrated and tremble. My fingers felt the pulsation. … Yet there was something more important than movement, and that was pressure. …

 

As soon as my hands came to life, they put me in a world where everything was an exchange of pressures. … More than seeing them, it is tuning in on them and allowing the current they hold to connect with one’s own, like electricity. To put it differently, this means an end of living in front of things and a beginning of living with them. … for this is love. … You cannot keep your hands from loving what they have really felt.

 

I was not afraid. Some people would say I had faith, and how should I not have it in the presence of the marvel which kept renewing itself? Inside me every sound, every scent, and every shape was forever changing into Light…

Light in the Midst of Darkness

 

sunshineWhen he was 16, Jacques’ gifts were invaluable to the French Underground Resistance who opposed Nazi Germany during WWII. As Jacques entered his 20s, the French Underground Resistance was betrayed.  The Nazis captured Jacques. After the beatings, interrogation, and torture, Jacques landed in a German prison camp where he fell deathly ill in the deplorable conditions.

 

Helpless, blind, and confined to the invalid ward, Jacques did not see Light. But then, there in the midst of darkness, depravity, and death, Jacques opened himself to the flow of light. His perspective changed. Light in his darkness returned.

 

I watched the stages of my own illness quite clearly. I saw the organs of my body blocked up or losing control one after the other. … I knew exactly what it was, this thing I was watching: my body in the act of leaving this world. …

 

Have I said that death was already there? If I have, I was wrong. Sickness and pain, yes, but not death. Quite the opposite, life, and that was the unbelievable thing that had taken possession of me. I had never lived so fully before.

 

Life had become a substance within me. It broke into my cage, pushed by a force a thousand times stronger than I. It was certainly not made of flesh and blood, not even of ideas. It came toward me like a shimmering wave, like the caress of Light. I could see it beyond my eyes and my forehead and above my head. It touched me and filled me to overflowing. I let myself float upon it.

 

There were names which I mumbled from the depths of my astonishment … ‘Jesus Christ, God.’ I drew my strength from the spring. I kept on drinking and drinking still more. I was not going to leave that celestial stream. For that matter it was not strange to me, having come to me right after my old accident when I was found blind. Here was the same thing all over again, the Life which sustained the life in me. … The Lord took pity on the poor mortal who was so helpless before Him. …

 

There was one thing left which I could do: not refuse God’s help, the breath He was blowing upon me. That was one battle I had to fight, hard and wonderful all at once: not to let my body be taken by fear. For fear kills, and joy maintains life. …

 

One May 8, I left the hospital on my two feet. I was nothing but skin and bones, but I had recovered. The fact was I was so happy that now [the prison camp] seemed to me a place which if not welcome was at least possible. If they didn’t give me any bread to eat, I would feed on Hope.

 

It was the truth. I still had eleven months ahead of me in the camp. But today I have not a single evil memory of those three hundred and thirty days of extreme wretchedness. I was carried by a Hand. I was covered by a Wing. One doesn’t call such living emotions by their names. I hardly needed to look out for myself, and such concern would have seemed to me ridiculous. I knew it was dangerous and forbidden. I was free now to help the others; not always, not much, but in my own way I could help.

 

I could try to show other people how to go about holding on to life. I could turn them to the flow of Light and joy which had grown so abundant within me. From that time on they stopped stealing my bread or my soup. It never happened again. Often my comrades would wake me up in the night and take me to comfort someone, sometimes a long way off in another block.

Light Survives the Darkness

 

Jacques discovered the key to surviving darkness.

 

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…almost all the survivors were good men. As for them, they were no longer there. They were looking at the world… from further away. They absorbed [the prison camp] as part of a great outpouring of the universe, but already they seemed to belong to a better world.

 

That is what you had to do to live in the camp: be engaged, not live for yourself alone. The self-centered life has no place in the world. … Those happy men…asked for nothing more for themselves, and that put everything within their reach. Be engaged, no matter what, but be engaged. It was certainly hard, and most men didn’t achieve it.

 

Of myself I can’t say why I was never entirely bereft of joy. But it was a fact and my solid support. Joy I found even in strange byways, in the midst of fear itself. And fear departed from me, as an infection leaves an abscess when it bursts. By the end of a year in [the prison camp,] I was convinced that life was not at all as I had been taught to believe…

 

What a remarkable man with such profound vision and insights!

 

I have been metaphorically blind in many ways.  I have found light in darkness by calling on the name of Jesus Christ, too.  I know more sight, as Jacques described, is available. And while I don’t understand how, I believe the Lord when He says that His Light is in and through all things. All things.

About Delisa Hargrove
I am a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. I have moved 64 times and have not tired of experiencing this beautiful earth! I love the people, languages, histories/anthropologies, & especially religious cultures of the world. My life long passion is the study & searching out of religious symbolism, specifically related to ancient & modern temples. My husband Anthony and I love our bulldog Stig, adventures, traveling, movies, motorcycling, and time with friends and family.

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