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Light in the Darkness

jstevenson | Journeys through Grief

“Even in darkness, it is possible to create light.” – Elie Weisel

December 21, the winter solstice, was the longest night of the year. In the midst of a busy holiday season where many of us are finishing up holiday shopping, getting ready to prepare meals for family gatherings, or getting ready to travel, our day is shorter and our night is longer when we all could probably use a few more hours of light.

While the short days may be a modern-day inconvenience, the concept of the tension between light and darkness has been expressed over the centuries in religious and philosophical thought.  Darkness had been characterized as mysterious and unable to penetrate, while light is associated with warmth, life, and creation.

When we are grieving, we often feel as though we are in total darkness. It is especially magnified during the holidays when we are dealing with the physical reality of shorter days and longer nights, as well as the emotional reality that our holidays will be darker without our loved ones.

Yet even in the darkest hours of our grief and in what appears to be the absence of the light of hope, we can create some light in our lives. We can take a walk or a hike. Soak in a hot tub or a hot bath. Reach out to a close friend or family member just to chat. Enjoy a delicious meal and a movie. Visit a museum or catch up on some reading. Pamper yourself at a spa. Find what it is that brings you happiness and light and do it.

Author Anthon St. Maarten wrote “If we never experience the chill of a dark winter, it is very unlikely that we will ever cherish the warmth of a bright summer’s day. Nothing stimulates our appetite for the simple joys of life more than the starvation caused by sadness or desperation. In order to complete our amazing life journey successfully, it is vital that we turn each and every dark tear into a pearl of wisdom, and find the blessing in every curse.”

It may not be easy, but it is possible to bring some light into our darkness. We can learn valuable lessons in our darkness, but we need not remain there forever. Remember, even the longest night of the year ends at daybreak. And from that moment forward, the days will get longer and the light will increase.