It is the season of lights.
I am not a religious person and yet the lights represent something to me; they are a coming home. A call out into the world that we are not alone. A shining forth of our good will.
In the darkest night, light gives us hope, even if it is in the distance. Perhaps, especially then. It is something to strive for. To move toward.
And yet my heart holds on to darkness now that I find difficult to shake. In my darkness, I think of the anniversary upcoming. That of the extraordinary loss of life at one school not so far away from where I sit in my chair, in my warm kitchen. It is possible to say that every day since the Sandy Hook tragedy, I have thought about those children and adults who were lost. The reality is that it probably has not been every day, but most days for sure.
Especially in the morning when I drop my son at school, I think of those lost. My son is six and in first grade. He loves his teacher. He loves his family and his dog. For Christmas, he is equally excited about gifts and spending time with his family. When he was born, he was someone we didn’t even know was missing from our lives until he was within them. His presence was a magic light turning on within all of us who love him.
His light burns ever brightly.
And as I watch him walk confidently into his school each morning, my heart catches in my chest and I drive on. Trusting that all will be okay again today, again today, again today. It is a prayer. It is a plea. We are okay. We are okay. We are okay.
That day, after I knew much of the horror, I waited anxiously for my son to get off the bus from kindergarten and when I saw him, I could breathe again. Later, we sat together with his hand in mine. I placed our hands together on the black and white blanket we have on our couch. I marveled at his warm hand in mine–that he was there with me, alive, well, happy, and innocent of the horror all around him.
Innocent or not, we find a way forward. We have to or we would not survive. It is our nature to move forward while still looking back. It is part of our survival instinct to listen and learn from our elders and from their tragedies and their happiness, from their love and loss. And as we age, our loss piles up like a rock wall around us, threatening to not let anything through.
My husband’s grandmother told us once that “it won’t snow until the brooks are full,” and I have seen this to be true. Until the brooks around us are full of water, any snow that falls, typically does not stick. It must be something about the frozen ground, that water cannot permeate.
Left to its own devices, nature does not disappoint us. The sun rises and sets. The Winter Solstice approaches and we turn on our lights, welcoming the darkness.
The brooks are now full. The solstice is coming.
We turn on our lights and send out a message of hope to all who are out there in the darkness and alone.
In the dark nights, we turn on our lights and we wait for snow.