Light and Darkness. Triumph and Trials. Joy and Sorrow. For me, this theme has been quite prominent over the past few weeks in many ways. Conversations, poetry, biblical passages, life. What I know and keep being reminded of is that even the most joy-filled life has darkness and difficulties. No one is exempt. But, if you take the time to see it and experience it, you can find that along with the fear and pain that darkness may bring there are also the most amazing gifts.
December 21st was the Winter Solstice. It’s a natural turning-point for transition and change as the lengthening darkness of night peaks and makes way for the lengthening of the light of day. Like the contrast between light and dark, it is also a time to examine the contrast between the things in life that seemingly lift us up and those that seemingly bring us down. Amazingly, when we search the dark areas, we can find growth, transformation, and wisdom lurking beneath the surface.
Take some time to sit quietly and peacefully with your thoughts about the challenging times you have experienced in your life. What qualities and strengths do you possess that were realized and developed from trials that you would not have been able to discern if life was all joy? What door has opened for you that would have gone unnoticed if another door had not first been slammed in your face? What positive transformation was inspired by the rough patch you recently went through? What have you gained in the shadows of loss?
The goodness is there beyond all of the darkness, but it requires the right mindset in order to see it. We need the darkness to appreciate the joy of light. We need loss to appreciate all of the good we have in our lives. We need the pressure and turmoil of trials to develop the characteristics that will bring us triumph.
It is a difficult concept to grasp, but we need both the light and the darkness. To live fully, we need both. To learn, grow, and transform, we need both. To appreciate, we need both. In the balance, and in knowing that both are required, we can find joy and live well.