I’ve always been fascinated that in the darkest of dark, our eyes can adjust to first see shadows and grays and then to eke out enough light to find our way. As I’ve dabbled in photography over the years, I’ve found myself trying to understand light most of all. It’s always the light, working with composition, that creates an image I want to hang on to. When I’m tired, though, and too rushed or too distracted to pay attention, the darkness prevails and I lose the shot.
Such it is with life, too. In the moments of darkness, I search for those tiny beams of light that might help me find my way. If I’m weary, it’s easy to let the darkness take over. Without realizing it, I live there for a while. In the dark. Fumbling around, at best.
The last two weeks have been kind of crazy dark. First, my family lost our sweet dog to cancer, which is how I’ve lost everyone I love. On Tuesday, as a nation, we anticipated and hoped for an election that might somehow alter the direction of our country, only to wake up the next morning and realize how far we still have to go to create any lasting change. And then, yesterday, we switched on social media to the news that another 12 people had been shot — mostly young people out for a night of line dancing. Our nation’s grief is palpable; our collective soul is deeply wounded. So much darkness.
But then . . . oh, but then . . .
I got home from work and found out that the election results were still coming in. As of last night, Dems had picked up a total of 30 House seats (Nevada flipped; Arizona seems poised to do the same!); more than 100 women — LGBTQ and women of color — have been elected to Congress for the first time (many beat opponents who were backed heavily by the NRA; might gun violence finally get addressed?); and voter suppression shenanigans are being exposed and litigated. More than a few state legislatures and Governorships around the country flipped BLUE. On TV, Michael Moore was HAPPY! And many of the propositions I’d voted for, passed. Look: BEAMS OF LIGHT.
#ProtectRobertMueller rallies spontaneously sprang up all over the country last night, with thousands of people taking to the streets to demand the new acting AG recuse himself and that Congress protect this important investigation. Look: MORE BEAMS OF LIGHT.
As for me . . . I finally had the energy, after a week of wallowing around in the dark, to walk up to the mailbox. In it, there were a half-dozen cards. Doggy sympathy cards, with super lovely notes of love from friends who knew our grief. While they triggered tears, they also triggered so much gratitude for having been blessed with such a dog as Toby. Look: EVEN MORE BEAMS OF LIGHT.
This gratitude thing isn’t always easy. In fact, it’s hard sometimes to realize how much we have to be grateful for. Sometimes, like this week, we have to dig deep to unearth it or let our souls be eaten up by the negative. As Martin Luther King Jr. said, “Darkness cannot drive out darkness. Only light can do that.” Some days, we have to look for it. Some days, we have to be it.
So today, I am incredibly grateful for all those beams of light, no matter how tiny.
May you find brilliant light in the days ahead.