Growing up in the Utah desert I constantly complained about the summer heat and the contrasting frigid winters. I longed to get out and find a milder climate. And I did. London, Hawaii, then Oregon all brought calmer weather. Snow days were rare, or even obsolete; and summers were in a word, idyllic.
But in lush gorgeous Portland, for the five years we were there, I felt wet most of the time. Yes, the temperatures rarely dropped below the mid 40’s, yet the whole world seemed so soggy. But mostly, beyond all the sogginess, I ached for the sun. No living organism is bright and alive without the sun; basic biology tells us this. It was normal that I wanted my being to feel warmth. Light. Joy.
And yet the world kept going and we all stayed alive somehow, despite the absence of light. But the life and light I had inside started to fade, diminish. The darkness outside made my insides all dark too.
There existed in the landscape an almost unearthly physical splendor, and the people, and land, and food, and culture were genuine and real and true. And these things brought me light. Portland was alive and rich in so many ways. And I fell in love with it all, a deep love. Yet there was this perennial hole within me, and I was never fully alive, in bloom. I needed more sunlight.
And now we have moved back to the desert, my place of beginning. And this desert heat envelopes the land of where I live. And it is curious how before, that heat was so undesired, so disruptive.
And now, because of experience, because of opposition, I soak in the energizing light and the warmness of the sun. Allowing my soul, both body and spirit, to absorb its life giving rays. The heat nourishes my once dampened, dire self and the light lifts my mind, my soul, even my freckles, freckles that had gone missing for awhile.
And even in the long icy winters the sunlight streams through my windows and I can actually feel of its warmth.
So long this light had gone missing. But I now perceive how that period of darkness was imperative. It was there in the darkness that I recognized how precious, how desirable light was and is to me. Without light’s absence, I was incapable of seeing light’s life preserving gifts. The darkness taught me to cultivate light, to feel exceptional appreciation and joy when I am touched by its warmth.
As humans we endure misfortune, pain, distress. And our lights, once so illuminating, begin to fade. Yet, we must remember that within darkness, in pain, in suffering we are acquiring the ability to ascertain the light, the moments of joy and life and beauty. And then when the cold darkness weakens and we feel warmness reaching through, we will abide in its comfort like never before. We will have enlightened aptitude in perceiving the wonder and joy that does exist. And this keener awareness will allow life to feel even sweeter than ever before. All because the darkness taught us.