The Light Always Comes
It is the time of the longest night and the shortest day. Each year, as the bright days of summer lead to the shortening days of autumn, we travel closer and closer to this time of the winter solstice.
For me, not a lover of cold and darkness, this turning point of the year marks the all too slow, but steady march toward the light and warmth of the summer solstice. I remind myself that after this day, there will be more light in the sky night by night.
As much as I would like to hasten the passing of the days toward the light, I know that there is a wisdom, a depth, and a necessity to this time of the calendar. The cycle of dying that is evident in this season seems to be an ending. I look out my window to see the barren trees and a garden of very wet dirt with the brown remnants of my perennial plants. This is a time of rest that is necessary for the budding life that is to come, and it can’t be hurried. Although it seems impossible that the darkness and barrenness will bring light and growth, I trust the cycle of nature to renew itself.
This cycle of darkness and endings is so very much a part of our human existence. It is inescapable and appears in our lives in small and in profound ways. In these times, there is the restlessness of impatience as it seems like that the light is far away – will this darkness last forever? For those who have experienced sexual abuse in childhood, the darkness of fear, hiding and self-doubt is pervasive and familiar. Many survivors doubt that any small glimmers of light could possibly hold the promise of a steady path away from the darkness. The depth of the harm that results from abuse in childhood can seem impervious to the kind of warmth and life that bring a new and brighter day.
To sit with survivors is to acknowledge the darkness and to also hold the belief in the healing power of the light that is waiting to grow. Although the light is barely visible, it is there, nonetheless. We know that, with care and nurture, no matter how great the darkness, the light always comes. This is our work that we are grateful to do, and we are equally grateful for those of you who stand along with us holding a belief in the possibility of growth and life.
And so, in this darkest time of the year, there is a gift after all. That the steady promise of light always comes, perhaps not quickly enough, but steady and trustworthy all the same. It is a blessed reminder that there truly is life and light below the surface, and it is this time of waiting and stillness that allows the light to return. It is my wish for all of us that in these short and waning days of a year which has been difficult in so many ways, that we will allow the nurture of this winter solstice to give way, day by day, to the return of the light.