In an age of lights at the flick of a switch, 24/7 entertainment at our finger tips and a push to fill our lives with so much, I think the concept of night has been lost. We can push back the darkness. We can ignore it. We can end it whenever we want. I wonder what we have lost in this quest to extend our days for work or entertainment. I wonder about the impact on our mental and physical health as we have all learned to ignore the natural rhythms around us and within us.
For me, I notice this most when we are out in the bush camping. Yes, we bring lights and can fall into the same patterns as home but there is something about being surrounded by darkness and being out where you can see the stars twinkling through that brings perspective. We tend to go to bed earlier. We have more quiet reflection time. We don’t have the TV as a ready distraction. We tune in more to the circadian rhythms built within our design. The surrounding depth of darkness and brilliance of the night sky brings with it a realisation of how small I truly am. Not in a way to make me feel diminished or crushed but in a way that allows me to relax into knowing there is someone greater than I holding this all and keeping it all running. I can relax into a place of letting go of the illusion of control I have.
My experience of motherhood has involved many a long night. I wish I could say that the feeling of relaxation and peace I described before was always there in those drawn out dark hours. The desperation and intensity of those times were always worse than in the daylight. Those hours would feel unending. Dark seasons in our lives can feel like that. It can feel like there is no light, no end, no hope or that the end is so far ahead of us that we question if we have the strength to get there. My experiences have taught me that, just like stars piercing the midnight sky, there are always pinpricks of light if we have eyes to see them. When I choose to focus in on those seemingly tiny points of light, hope and joy, the darkness fades. Sometimes the fade is just enough to help me through to the next moment or day but it is enough. And, just like the stars, what seems small in that moment is really huge. It’s a matter of perspective and using the right tools to zoom in and see it.
- What moment in this day brought a flicker of joy?
- What are you grateful for today?
- What beauty can you see around you? If you can’t find something, go somewhere you can.
- Sit and watch the clouds, the trees, the stars, a candle or flowers.
- Notice the tiny things around you that you normally gloss over.
My experiences have also taught me that, like flicking on a switch at night, I try to end those dark seasons quickly. I try to distract my way out of them. I try to force my way through in my own timing to end the discomfort and get back to the light, easy places. Maybe you do too. We are so used to a quick solution that we seek an escape before that season has done its work. For I firmly believe that every experience and situation works to make us the people we need to be, if we let them and if we do the work to process through not sidestep out.
Take a moment to think through the struggles you have been through in the past year. Have you allowed yourself to really experience that struggle enough? Did you try to end it prematurely? Is there more that you need to let yourself feel and experience? Where can you see the strength emerging? What current or near future circumstances could you apply that strength to? What have you learned that you could use to help others?
My prayer for you today is that you will not shy away from the darkness. May you know that you are strong enough and have the love of God bearing you through. May you allow the night to do its work in you so that you can be more fully who you were created to be. May you see the pinpricks of light in your dark day. May you walk out into the light carrying the strength and wisdom of your experiences without carrying the festering wounds that can be left.