"I will love the light for it shows me the way, yet I will endure the darkness for it shows me the stars." - OG MANDINO
It’s easy to love the light. When life is flowing smoothly and we are surrounded by “the good,” it’s natural to feel like we can pursue our path, smell the flowers, maybe even conquer our world. However, when darkness falls, that journey can become a bit confusing. The road may appear impossible to see. Yet, it is at these exact times that the shining stars, the ones that will ultimately show us our true way, appear, lighting our course and introducing us to aspects of ourselves that we’ve never before seen.
Darkness is enveloping my family. My mother-in-law just passed away, and to be honest, this is one of the most difficult things I have ever endured. Sure, I’ve had my personal battles, seen grandparents die, and been scared about the well being of my children. But I’ve never felt as helpless as I have these past few weeks.
Watching someone in constant pain translated to having my heart ripped out, slowly, in bits and pieces. I don’t know another way to describe it. At first there was a side of me that would do anything but be in her presence because I felt so inadequate… there was nothing I could do to fix things. But then a transformation occurred. I saw my mother-in-law at her highest possible level, where she glowed in her purest form. And, that is where I found my star.
My entire life I’ve avoided sad things because I didn’t want to experience that feeling. It scared me. Watching movies when a dog died tore me apart. And, after I had cancer, if I’d read a book where someone contracted that disease, I’d put the novel down immediately. Basically, I tried to dodge coming into contact with anything that stirred pain at the deepest level of my soul. You might say that my unspoken motto was to shield myself from the depths of despair because I didn’t think I could handle it, felt it would break me, worried that I’d be incapable of dealing. But, I was so wrong.
My mother-in-law gave me a very special present during the last days of her life… she taught me how to uncover a deeper compassion within me. Watching her endure her last days allowed me to tap into a level of empathy that I never knew existed in my being. Sure, I’ve always thought that I was caring, but I’d never classify myself as an overly compassionate person… I didn’t feel that I knew how. But, now, I’m learning, and these lessons came from the most beautiful teacher.
We all face light and dark. Both are unavoidable parts of life. But the dark doesn’t need to be totally terrifying. It can offer a different view, one lit up by celestial wonders. Should darkness come your way, may you be able to look up and see the magnificent stars. I know that my mother-in-law is now in the sky above us, looking down and shining her love.