Epilogue

It will be different in the morning

For a week or two after the longest night, the mornings still get darker. That little fact seems quite appropriate for this time of year, with the dawn light of Christmas behind us, and the starkness of a new year ahead.

I always struggle with this time of year. No matter how much I commit to stillness and simplicity (and I do), December passes in a blur, and Christmas happens around me. Suddenly the guests, so eagerly awaited, have gone home. The food, so carefully planned and stored, has been eaten. The gifts, so thoughtfully chosen, have been unwrapped and packed away. I know that for others, strained relationships, spiralling debt, bereavement and poor health make this time of year unbearable. This gap between Christmas and New Year, and the first days of January, can seem hollow, dark, and anticlimactic.

This year you will have lived through moments of deep pain and great joy. As you turn to face 2018, you carry bags of hope, regret, happiness, sorrow, grief, disappointment, longing, excitement, anticipation and anxiety. It’s not as simple as laying these things down and walking on without them. Packed in these bags is a jumble of everything that makes you you. To leave behind your pain is to leave behind your very self. If we were to take only the good things, life would be shallow indeed. How would we know happiness without pain?

Pain, like life, is not static. It evolves, changes, improves and deteriorates. It will be different in the morning. Perhaps worse, perhaps better. Perhaps only slightly different. But as long as your pain; your reaction to the tough stuff of life; is evolving, then you are becoming stronger. From your dark spaces will emerge new strength, new empathy, new opportunity. And even now, you are stronger than you know.

There will be dark spaces in 2018. My prayer for you is that Hope will enter those dark spaces as feathers falling around you, in ways you may not even notice, at first, until the moment they brush your arm in the darkness and turn your eyes towards the light.

It will be different in the morning.

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