Calling all Light Keepers
Illuminating the Months Ahead
“Darkness cannot drive out darkness: only light can do that.” - Reverend Martin Luther King Jr.
For those of us living in the Northern Hemisphere, the fall days are dwindling down to a precious few as the colors fade and the sun’s rays lose their warmth. With the nights drawing in, the approaching winter can be disquieting under usual conditions but 2020, as we know, is far from usual. COVID-19 is surging and in the US as storms batter our coasts, we are a painfully divided nation dealing with the fall out of a bruising and exhausting election.
The path forward is far from certain but one thing we know for sure, the challenges are immense. When one person contracts the virus, we all lose. When one of us is gunned down in the street for the color of their skin, we all lose. When air and water is degraded by greed and incompetence, we all lose. We are all losers if we are not all winning.
The question is then, will this be a long, dark road to we know not where or can it be transformed into something more illuminating? The answer to this, I believe, is in our hands.
It doesn’t matter who we are, what “side” we are on, what we have or where we live, each and everyone of us is a cog in a giant machine which can only run smoothly if all the parts are working well, together. We all matter. So we have a choice: we can chose to be a beacon shedding light on the way ahead or we can throw a spanner in the works by disappearing into the shadows, creating more darkness for everyone.
There’s nothing complicated about being a beacon of light. It isn’t hard to do. We just have to pay attention and be aware of our actions, never losing sight of the fact that everything single thing we do, and say, either strengthens the light or intensifies the darkness.
When people are unkind, be kind anyway. When people hurt you, forgive them anyway. Make an effort to put yourself in others shoes, call out genuine injustice when you see it and don’t let yourself slip into making lazy, blanket judgements. We are all facing enormous challenges while dealing with the many frailties inherent in being human. No one ever said it would be easy. And remember it’s way more powerful to be kind than right. No one is ever going to remember if you were right but they are surely going to remember if you were kind. Kindness is a healing force that makes your life and the lives of others better.
And when you’re feeling outraged, resentful and arrogant with self-righteousness, as I am sure we will all experience in the coming months, chose humility, kindness and forgiveness. In the words of Dave Chapelle on SNL:
“You got to find a way to live your life. Got to find a way to forgive each other. Got to find a way to find joy in your existence in spite of that feeling.”
Consider this, despite all the injustice and pain, the Reverend Martin Luther King Jr. held on to his dream of justice and equality. A dream so powerful, so inspiring, that his words still illuminate our way today. And why? Because no matter what, his big, beautiful heart was expansive enough to include us all. Let’s be guided by that same light in the months to come as we set out on our journey to a more peaceful and equitable world.