Lighten the darkness

It always seems ironic to me that when something big happens I usually lose the inclination to use words.

But I’m here, showing up at the page to quote a cliche, because sometimes it makes sense to do the thing that makes no sense. To try to wrap words around something so inexplicable that words themselves seem trite, offensive, hollow.

It doesn’t feel like the most wonderful time of the year. But Advent, to me, is a time of waiting in the darkness, and we all know all too well that recent days have indeed been dark. 

The news full of stories so close and yet so horrifying that I can’t bear to watch, and can’t sleep when I force myself beyond the numbness to pay attention. Violence erupting in the midst of a society that is supposedly a paragon of peace. Fleeting fear and the recognition that I have allowed myself, without question, to be intimidated into writing about babies because they’re so much more palatable than bombs. The spectre of mental illness stepping out of the shadows and casting a ghastly gloom over the lives of even those previously untouched by it. The sudden and unexplained death of a young woman we knew. The financial pressure and burden of impossible expectations that creep in at this time of year.

And it doesn’t end there, because even as we grieve the loss of children who look just like our own, we are complicit in turning a blind eye to the daily loss of thousands more children who die because of poverty, but who don’t look like our own bright-eyed, smiling darlings. I turn away from reading or writing at times like this because it seems impossible to explore these themes without sounding sanctimonious or soap-boxy. So much easier to look at pretty pictures and pithy quotes on Pinterest.

It’s difficult to resist the urge to be swallowed by the darkness, but Advent serves as a reminder to us all that our stories don’t end alone in darkness.

Light is coming, whatever that means to you.

And if it means nothing then you can, at least, be the light that comes to others.

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One thought on “Lighten the darkness

  1. Mary says:

    I have increasingly felt gloomy at Christmas – I want the REAL Christmas story to come out because I think it would give people hope, rather than make them (me) feel like they can’t live up to the expectations around them in society, culture or maybe their own families.
    The real story is a saviour with super-powers born into an angry, power-hungry world, in questionable circumstances, with lots of messiness and poverty and extravagance – and if anything, it reminds me that my hope is not in what I can see, but in what I believe.
    My hope is not in this world, but in my heart and yours. Oh, that I and we can keep that hope alive in the midst of the tragedy so I’ll have love to give and a space to receive it.
    Thanks for this post – you get me. xx

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