Hope in the darkness

“I have seen too many stars to let the darkness overwhelm me.” Macrina Wiederkehr.

Yesterday I heard about a friend who was recently, suddenly, and unexpectedly diagnosed with what may be a terminal illness. Another friend is currently undergoing chemotherapy and yet another, navigating through the world of medications in hopes to control a disease spreading throughout her body. What do you do when you hear such heart breaking news?

I go into shock mode first: I shut down, think through things logically, check my heart with a ‘no, this can’t be so’. Then I cry. Then I pray something in my mind. Then I go to my candles.Image

When I am in need of a practice of hope, I light 3 candles that are symbolic to me of light in the darkness. The first is a small glass candle holder that I bought after visiting Auschwitz in Poland. So much suffering was experienced in that country and with so many. I light this candle for those I know who are suffering and I pray: for light, for hope, for grace, for peace. Then I light my Native American blue glass eagle candle that my mom bought for me years ago. I pray for light, strength, and power. Lastly, I light the butterfly candle that I bought in Paris many years ago. It is a symbol to me of waiting and the unseen transformation that takes place in the dark, until the time is right, the cocoon shatters and the butterfly emerges. I let go of whatever my expectations are for what I feel may be a ‘right’ transformation and healthy flying butterfly and simply hope. This is a spiritual practice for me. This past Sunday faith communities around the world gathered and lit the first candle of Advent – the hope candle.

“A light to you in the darkness; a light when all other lights go out.” J.R.R. Tolkien

How do you hope in the darkness? What practices do you have?


One Comment Add yours

  1. Briana says:

    love that quote…

    I smile because it was at your Christmas parties that I first learned of my own desire to entertain and serve good food and drink for friends.

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