“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?
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?