“A single sunbeam is enough to drive away many shadows.” Francis of Assisi
Who or what is the sunbeam in your life? Is it you? How do you shine your light?
Light comes to us early in the summer and stays late although rainy days cast shadows across the mountains. Still the sun peaks through every day and at times surrounds us as a reminder there is at least one sunbeam in our lives.
But besides the physical light, what other sunbeams appear in your life?
Some Elements of Our Lives Lift Us Up
Is your spouse or are your children or other family members lights in your life? My husband certainly is. The depth of his ideas often opens my mind and takes me down a path I have not seen before. He also lightens my mood with his humor and the jazz he plays on his saxophone.
My nephews and niece, who live halfway across the country, all have children. I miss seeing them face to face, but I often feel “lit up” by the kids’ antics and accomplishments when their parents’ share their activities on Facebook.
Do you ever feel enlightened by what you read? I am often amazed by the ability of some people to rise above their limiting backgrounds. Recently, I was deeply touched by James McBride’s story, The Color of Water: A Black Man’s Tribute to His White Mother. While he was a black man learning to survive in a white world, his white Jewish mother was living most of her life among black people who kept her at a distance. Their heroic stories lifted my heart and brought light to my understanding.
How Light Slips Through the Darkness
Although we are surrounded by much negativity today, the light slips through the news with stories of people surviving the virus, taking care of the natural environment by reviving plants and animals that have almost disappeared, and feeding the hungry and helping the homeless.
But the stories that often touch me the most deeply are those of people, who having been wrongly accused and put in prison for years, are finally released. Imagine your life and reputation being falsely stolen for most of your adult years. Thank goodness for DNA, for it is often the evidence that allows these human beings to step out of the prison darkness into the light of a real life.
Focusing to See the Light
What about the times when our lives contain light but we don’t see it? Aristotle once said, “It is during our darkest moments that we must focus to see the light.” I’ve known people who invariably saw the dark side of a situation first and become so caught up in that that they missed what was positive.
In 1999 I sadly discovered I had chronic fatique syndrome. Living near my family in New Orleans, the hot, damp weather had made me sick. I longed to move to Asheville to be near mountains and a couple of friends, but my doctor insisted I could only heal in a dry climate. I was very depressed about this.Fortunately, a friend had recently moved to Albuquerque which I assumed was a boring landscape. I visited her and was amazed by the beauty of the sunsets and the Latino and Native American art and culture. Moving there, not only healed me, it helped me grow by expanding my awareness as I taught in high schools filled with students of diverse cultures.
How Can We Change This Dark Time
We are now living in a dark time when our democracy is significantly endangered. We can either let this depress and limit us or we can see that it is an opportunity to shine a light on what needs to be changed.
Each day there are more displays of light: peaceful protesters, politicians speaking out against what is corrupt even when it may risk their careers, and citizens who give money to organizations that feed the hungry or help those losing their homes. Those who faithfully wear masks despite the discomfort are also beings of light protecting themselves and others.
How are you the sunbeam that shatters the darkness and chases the clouds away?
©2020 Georganne Spruce