Where the Light Enters You

Thursday, May 7, 2015 - 8:31 am

Where the Light Enters You

Many spiritual paths talk about the metaphors of light and reflection — and a few use metaphors of mirrors and mirroring. I often wonder about “holding someone in the light” (as my Friends from the Quaker community say) and seeking the light of God in humanity.

But what about when the mirrors of our heart are broken? What happens to the light shining through when the glass/window/mirror is fractured? And aren’t we all?

I saw an image that led me to sit with that image, and this is a poem that came to my own fractured, healing heart.

Where the Light Enters You

broken window
Light shines through 

It was sunset
What colors

I am this window
the light

We are the brokenness

The beauty
is all of us 

This window, 
the brokenness, 
and the light
is all us.

We all broken
Frac tured 
shat tered

Somewhere in us
there is 
a healing

The Nur comes 
from beyond

God is the Light.

The One 
who gave me the wounds
gives the healing

We are
Wounded healers
Illuminated brokenness
Poets and sages tell us:
        The Wound is where the Light enters you.
I look at my own heart
and see scars
   scars piled on scars

So many deaths
and yet, 
    clings to me. 
Some see the injury, 
the pain
the hurt.

I caress the scar
This is where the healing 
and the light
    entered me. 

The scars tell me 
I lived through it all
and grew.
I survived.
Even thrived.

The wound
the injury
and the healing
are now all a part of me.     
I pause now
at all the broken windows

O wonder! 
the broken window
of my heart
this scattered light
How beautiful each of us
the broken
the unbroken
the healing
the light
The survival.

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is a columnist for On Being. His column appears every Thursday.

He is Director of Duke University’s Islamic Studies Center. He is the past Chair for the Study of Islam, and the current Chair for Islamic Mysticism Group at the American Academy of Religion. In 2009, he was recognized by the University of North Carolina for mentoring minority students in 2009, and won the Sitterson Teaching Award for Professor of the Year in April of 2010.

Omid is the editor of the volume Progressive Muslims: On Justice, Gender, and Pluralism, which offered an understanding of Islam rooted in social justice, gender equality, and religious and ethnic pluralism. His works Politics of Knowledge in Premodern Islam, dealing with medieval Islamic history and politics, and Voices of Islam: Voices of Change were published 2006. His last book, Memories of Muhammad, deals with the biography and legacy of the Prophet Muhammad. He has forthcoming volumes on the famed mystic Rumi, contemporary Islamic debates in Iran, and American Islam.

Omid has been among the most frequently sought speakers on Islam in popular media, appearing in The New York TimesNewsweekWashington Post, PBS, NPR, NBC, CNN and other international media. He leads an educational tour every summer to Turkey, to study the rich multiple religious traditions there. The trip is open to everyone, from every country. More information at Illuminated Tours.