When my oldest daughter was about 4, she began, in the winter, to come and find me, and pull me into the beams of light that came through the windows. These could be rare, we can go weeks without much direct sunlight in winter here, and she knew that I missed sun, and so appreciated it when it peaked through. I was, and still am, immensely touched by the sweetness in this gesture.
I still feel this way – I long for the light on darker days, and it soothes me when the light finally breaks through. Today was such a day – mostly cloudy, rainy. I got outside and into the garden anyway, and enjoyed it.
But at the end of day, while washing dishes, I chanced to glance through the window, and caught this beam of light – just a patch, but so brilliant, as the sun was readying to set, that it felt like a bit of fire, and warmth.
I have been reflecting this weekend on the light and darkness in my life, and the feeling that I have been caught up in darkness for too long, lately. For years now, in truth. The loss of my mother, and then my marriage, and the intense, gut-wrenching, many-layered fallout associated with that, which is ongoing. And I have descended, and come back and descended once again. And I have learned so much. I am older, I am wiser, I am stronger, I am more capable, I am more compassionate, I am a heck of a lot more tired. I am truly better in many ways, I see this. This is real, this is life. And I’d like to be more joyful.
It has been necessary for me to look at all of this loss, and much of what led up to it, to own it, to accept it, to live it. Dark and light exist in opposition to each other because this is necessary for balance. Because we can’t know one without the other.
But through all of this there have been rays of light in so many forms. I have seen them, been grateful for them, but maybe haven’t been able to fully absorb them, wandering as I have been in the dark. So many precious sunlit moments- faces of my children, my family, my friends, who have been here with me through all of this. Who have stood there with me, steadfast through this storm, who have reached out to me in some of the sweetest ways. Some chance encounters with beautiful strangers – who have touched me, us, in small ways that feel like sunbeams.
I have been looking long enough at the darkness for now. It will still be there, and I will still see it, but in the background for a time. Now is the time to reach for the light, and see where that takes me next.