Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers has gone to the dark side.

If you’re a Packers fan, no worries. The “dark side” is not the Packers’ historic rivals, the Chicago Bears, or the Minnesota Vikings (remember Packer fans, the 2017 dirty “play” that injured Rodgers?).

Last week, Rodgers went on a “darkness retreat.” He’s trying to make some crucial decisions about his future: whether to continue playing for the Packers, play for another team, or retire. The four-time MVP is 39 years old, which is like being 69 years of age in most careers.

The darkness retreat is more than going into your room, turning out the lights for an hour or two, and thinking, but that’s a general idea of what it is. On Pat McAfee’s sports talk show, Rodgers said he hoped spending three or four days in isolation would help him meditate, sort out his options and make an important life decision.

Darkness retreats are a “thing” now. People spend $1,350 to $2,100 to sit in complete darkness, (no, not even a night light), deprived of all sensory stimuli. Depending on which retreat center you book, you usually are treated with food service, a bed, a toilet, and a yoga mat. Some provide a shower.

The concept of darkness retreats originates in ancient cultures where monks and mystics would retreat, often to caves or underground tunnels, to immerse themselves in a space devoid of light. They hoped the darkness would provide the environment for the soul and mind to enter into psychic and spiritual experiences.

Please pardon the pun, but I’m not seeing it.

At first, I theorized this might be a good exercise for Lent: do without to grow within. After all, isn’t that what we do during Lent? So: do without light to see the light. I like it.

Then I projected the process.

I saw myself trying to find my balance in the dark after getting up from a yoga mat, stumbling around for the toilet, falling instead into the shower where I mistakenly turn on the hot water and unable to find the cold handle, burn myself, screaming naughty words, tripping back over the only table in the room as I futility try to find a towel before the retreat owners arrive to find me huddled naked in the corner of my little allotted space. As they walk with their backs towards me in the dark, not to embarrass me, they step on my foot, causing me once more to hurl a stream of invectives until they finally cover me with a sheet. Then, before they exit---having left my little plate of food somewhere in the room---I see myself frozen in the darkness, immobilized for fear of stepping on the dinner plate, which I can’t see. As they are about to shut the door, I hear myself whimpering: “Is my $2,000 refundable?”

The simpler way is to close my eyes and pray.

And the Scriptures do talk about the light quite frequently. Matthew’s gospel announces the preaching ministry of Jesus by quoting the prophet Isaiah: “The people who live in darkness have seen a great light, and for those living in the land of the shadow of death, a light has dawned” (Mathew 4:15-16). And Jesus admonished his followers to let their light shine before others (Matthew 5:16). John’s gospel is replete with references to the light, perhaps most prominently in quoting Jesus referring to himself as “the light of the world” (John 8:12).

Sometimes it is necessary to enter the darkness to appreciate the light. During Lent, some have found that doing without certain foods, delights, and routines open the heart to better things, providing space for the spiritual nourishment and habits of the heart that fuel the soul with manna from above.

I hope the darkness gives Aaron Rodgers the clarity he needs at this critical juncture. And if darkness opens you to more light, more lumens to you.

As for me, during this season of Lent, I’m content to find my favorite chair, turn on my little lamp, open my Bible, and take in the light.