As 2016 comes to a close, I have found myself doing what many do this time of year. Christmas is over, and a new year approaches, along with new possibilities, new chances to better ourselves, and a renewed hope for the coming year.
For many, myself included, 2016 has been a tough year. For me, perhaps the hardest part of this year has been realizing more than ever that there remains a lot of darkness in our world. From the massacre in a Christmas market in Germany to the refugee crisis in Aleppo, to our own presidential election, this year has seen a lot of hate, vitriol, exclusion and oppression. Focusing on these events, and the people at the center of them, is a recipe for cynicism and fear.
Imagine you’re in a dark room, not knowing where to turn to find your way. Suddenly, you see a small light. What do you do? You head toward that light.
I am determined to not become consumed with the darkness. Darkness manifests itself in so many sinister ways, that we often do not realize it has become such an integral part of our being. We yell at the person driving 50 mph on the freeway, only to pass by and see someone’s grandmother on her way to church. We gossip about the coworker who is unproductive and unreliable, only to find out that she struggles with addiction. We fail to acknowledge the young man who proudly holds open a door for us because we are too busy with our own life to actually see and appreciate the people around us.
Knowing that the smallest of flames can break through utter darkness, I intend to not only move toward the light in this world, but to be a light for those searching in the darkness. I intend to treat people with kindness, love, appreciation and forgiveness. My hope is that if one person finds light in my presence, then they will, themselves, become a light for another. As the light grows, there can be no more darkness.