Remember the Light

This has been a hard year.

On a personal level, a year with the loss of a young family member to cancer. Other members of our extended family with critical health crises and surgeries that thankfully turned out much better than the label “brain tumor” might have predicted. A long-awaited vacation to Scotland and Ireland, the beginning of healing from those other tragedies, interrupted by a nasty case of COVID. Our challenges, like those of so many other people, so many families.

This has been a hard year.

Our world. Multiple wars with incomprehensible horrors. The climate crisis, natural disasters taking on an unnatural destructive intensity. Political divisions fostering anger and animosity and hatred here and around the globe. In our desire to stay informed, we watch the news and follow social media, with the energy of the words and pictures taking residence within us, within our homes.

And on and on.

This hard year seemingly full of darkness.

It would be easy to get lost there.

A family member once wrote to me, “When the skies are darkest, the stars begin to shine.” He may have paraphrased someone else’s words, but the spirit of the message is still true.

How do we cope with the sadness, the worry? How do we cope with chaos compounded by a collective grief of the pandemic years that we still have not recovered from?

In the darkest of times, there is the opportunity for the greatest learning. We can learn the depths of our strength, remember our ability to rise up. Remember the light we have within us.

These times are all about finding a balance. Certainly stay informed, but don’t dwell on the screens or in the news reports. Practice self-care, in whatever positive healthy manner that means for you. As the saying goes, “Do what you can, with what you have, from where you are.”

Practice kindness. Like a stone dropped into a pond, the ripples may extend further than you can see.

This dark, hard year has also been filled with joys, light and love. In these times, remember the light that you have within you. Shine in the darkness like the star that you are.

susan schirl smith
Susan Schirl Smith is a writer, photographer and holistic nurse based in New Hampshire. Her essays have been published in Cognoscenti, Pangyrus, Silver Birch Press and The Journal of Holistic Nursing. Her photography has been featured in Barren Magazine and L’Ephemere Review. Smith’s current manuscript is Desperado, a memoir of her brother. You can follow Susan on her website or Facebook.

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