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Let There be Light

I wanted this blog to be about something other than cancer and medical appointments. Sometimes, I need to stop this merry-go-round I seem to be on and focus on other things. I am to have a biopsy in a few days. It is a tedious procedure, and I don’t look forward to it, but I am also impatient, ready to get on with what is necessary to get this treatment show on the road. My life depends on it. This has been an unpreceded year, a confusing time for all of us. For me, the collective challenges seem to compound the personal challenges I am currently facing. But I guess we all have seasons of joy and seasons of pain. We must have faith that tomorrow will be better, but we have to make it happen.

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Darkness is the absence of light. Before you stop reading because I have just stated the obvious, let me elaborate. I think it is quite the metaphor.

The only way to get rid of the darkness, that void which makes us stumble and lose our way, it to fill the space with light. Then, suddenly, the path we travel is illuminated. In that same way, if we are able to replace that which is evil and painful with that which is good, we can somehow move out of gloom and into a place of hope.

Yes, I know, that seems rather simplistic, but most real truths about life are, right? We tend to complicate things while we throw up our arms, raging against the unfairness of it all. And we accomplish nothing.

I have learned that whatever we search for, we find. We set up expectations for what is to happen based on our own sensibilities. If we look for ways to be offended, there will be plenty to upset us, and we can scribble lots of sticky notes with negative labels written on them to attach to situations and people. The world becomes a cold and hostile place if that is what we presume it to be. And many folks do.

Conversely, if we believe that there is joy and beauty to be found here, if we imagine that others do care, we can discover a little oasis of connection. That’s the key. And it begins with telling our stories, I think. We encourage bravery in each other when we lean in and offer nonjudgmental listening. Let’s face it: it is hard to hate somebody whose background you know, whose experience you have come to understand and acknowledge. We need to talk about what has happened to us because, quite frankly, it makes us feel less alone. Through sharing, we learn that we are all human with common moments of pain and triumph. It is a way to start to build a relationship, as we gaze into each other’s eyes and whisper, “I see you.” And as a result, we are able to embrace the idea that it is possible for all of us to live in unity.

Sure, we can make better policies, launch campaigns. We can take to social media and listen to the talking heads, but what will ultimately make a difference in how society operates is the association. Person to person, group to group. Once we stop making blanket assumptions about each other and begin to talk, we will see change. Love really is in the details.

We all have a little bit of greatness and goodness inside of us. The two qualities coexist. And it is important that we discover those merits in ourselves, acknowledge that we were made to grow a little bit each day. But it is also up to us to discover that in other people. Then, we create a fertile ground for mutual respect.

The world is a big place with things that make us afraid and sad. But that’s nothing new: it always has been a relatively scary place. But if we can stand together, even in times of uncertainty, we can begin to understand each other. There is comfort there. Evil exists, and it seems to be magnified during days of strife, but good is much more powerful. Yes, there is darkness, but if we look for it, we can also find the light. It is the only way that we are going to survive these challenging times. But more importantly, that’s when we begin to understand the sacred shared experience of this human journey.

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