The Current Darkness

Categories Life, Self

I wrote a post last week about all the things I haven’t done this year.

Among them, but forgotten at the time of the post, was keeping up with the Ten Things of Thankful blog hop. For a long time, I faithfully made my weekly gratitude list. The practice of focusing on the good in my life and connecting with the people in the TToT community were a great source of comfort and positivity for me during a long stretch of frustration and change. Keeping my eye on the blessings in my life, rather than the sufferings, was crucial to my ability to keep moving forward.

Over a period of months, I found my participation more sporadic until I eventually stopped pretending I was going to get my list made and shared. Maybe the timing wasn’t good. Maybe I was preoccupied with other things, busy taking care of life. Maybe my heart just wasn’t in it and the lists felt forced, repetitive, and stale. I honestly don’t know. But as often happens with even the best-laid plans and intentions, my habit of making a weekly gratitude list fell by the wayside.

This year has been one filled with challenges and disappointments, two coming our way most recently right before Christmas. What a great way to start off the holiday. I can be honest and say that I have spent some time this year being angry and frustrated and hurt. I have held those emotions close, and I have also broadcast them loudly. I have prayed and hoped, and I have also given up on prayer and hope, only to return to both time and time again.

While I have not participated in the weekly “thankful” lists for quite some time, I absolutely do remain truly thankful for the blessings in my life. While things have not necessarily gone as I might have liked over the last many months, I know every day that I have much for which I can be thankful. Life. Health. Home. Family. Love. From each of these springs a list of many more specific and perhaps seemingly insignificant things, but all of which are indeed blessings. I am painfully aware that no matter what the challenges in my life, there are so many in the world, both near and far from me, who are unable to count such things as blessings. But as I see the news and watch what goes on in our world, I am frequently reminded that even those who experience massive tragedy and suffering in their lives are so often still able to find something for which to be grateful and hopeful. Perhaps that is what keeps me mindful of what I have, and aware of the fact that even in the midst of tragedy and sadness, there still springs hope.

I’ve been thinking about that a lot lately, actually. I recently read a post by a blogger friend, Cheryl Oreglia, who writes at Living in the Gap. In her post, Cheryl reflected on the secret of Advent. At the conclusion, she said, “The present darkness is not death, it is a womb.” Those words have stayed with me since reading them and they have had a profound effect on me. While life may sometimes seem bleak and darkness may seem to hover too close for too long, there is light in the days that follow. Perhaps it does not come immediately, and perhaps it is not easily recognized at first, but it is there. It is easy to associate darkness with death. A child waiting in her mother’s womb knows only darkness. But after that darkness – and likely some suffering along the way – what awaits on the other side of that womb is light and life and love.

And so as I sit here this morning watching the sun take its place in the sky, I am thankful for the recognizable gifts in my life. I will continue to work toward recognizing that the current darkness – whatever that may be – is temporary, and even necessary.

My wish for all of us in the days ahead is peace in our hearts and a profound sense of hope.

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This week I am joining the Ten Things of Thankful group. Follow the link here to connect with them and share your own gratitude list.


Ten Things of Thankful

Lisa A. Listwa is a self-employed writer with experience in education, publishing, and the martial arts. Believing there was more to life than punching someone else’s time clock and inspired by the words of Henry David Thoreau, she traded her life as a high school educator for a life as a writer and hasn’t looked back. She is mother to one glorious handful of a daughter, wife to the nicest guy on the planet, and reluctant but devoted owner of three Rotten Cats. You can find her adventures and thoughts on living life deliberately here on the blog.

17 thoughts on “The Current Darkness

  1. I have been ruminating on what the darkness represents for a while now. As I face the thought of losing more of my sight, and as I visited the north this year and heard about how they there live with the darkness so much of the year, I have wondered why dark is such a bad word, symbol, thing in the world. It stands for evil and bad. I wish this wasn’t so.

    Still, I fear ending up left in nothing but visual darkness one of these days/years and I am scared. I love the sun and the light, but I try to embrace what darkness can mean.

    Glad to see you here again Lisa. You are truly blessed to have family and love and I am blessed of your writing.

    1. I can’t imagine how you face your future with the wisdom that you do, Kerry. It is inspiring. I think I wrote a piece on the color black a few months ago that I’ll have to see if I can find – it addressed various interpretations of black and dark and I think in light of your comments here, you might enjoy it.
      Thank you for your sweet words. I am blessed to know you!

  2. Good to see you back here where you add so much to the weekly …proceedings.

    I totally identify with the energy-dampening of the perception of repetition and routine. But then again, even from the first post of the TToT I’ve claimed the right to ‘fake until I make it’ …gratitude list writing-istically speaking.

    I suspect the longevity of this weekly shindig is very much a function of us (collectively) pushing to the fore when we have momentum and allowing ourselfs to be carried along with the group when we’re not feeling the enthusiasm.

    Glad you chose to join us this weekend.

    (Now go mark it down in what is surely a new (2018) Day Planner/Calendar/Lesson Planner under the tree: ‘I will contribute a post each week to the TToT because, words in posts can be like bananas in Rice Krispies. After you’ve eaten all the obvious slices and, getting ready to put the bowl in the sink, you spoon-dredge the 1/4 inch of leftover milk and somehow… there is one more disc of banana. It can change the course of a day.

    Be that last, surprise disc of milk-sodden banana!

    1. Aww, thanks, Clark. I’m glad to be here this week.
      I’m not quite sure what to do with that banana analogy…I really hate bananas! LOL But I think the sentiment is a good one.

  3. Lisa! I’m am finally catching up on my favorite authors and I been holding this one aside so I can relish in your words. Then boom! You added me to your beautiful thoughts. I’m am so grateful my words speak to you with the same power as your words speak to me. I’ll be sending up some prayers for you, that the darkness recedes and love abounds. Thank you for this insightful post. xxoo

    1. You are definitely one of my faves, Cheryl, and that post was so very important for me that day. Thank you for the prayers, sweet friend, and for your wonderful words! xo

  4. I think it’s been a rough year for many. You can look through At Home With Terrormom to find my personal story. Sometimes, coming together as a community really helps. And yes, at times, that community is spread throughout the world. May 2018 bring us the peace we so sorely desire and need.

  5. It can be difficult to remain thankful when we’re going through trying times; I can relate to that. I also liked the analogy of the womb. I also think we can learn a lot about ourselves and others during dark times which we can carry forward. Wishing you a 2018 filled with more light 🙂

    1. It definitely can. And you’re so right that we learn much about who we are when things aren’t going the way we wish. I’ve found that to be very true.
      Credit for the womb analogy goes to my lovely friend Cheryl – definitely check out her blog. Her writing is wonderful.

  6. I’m late in commenting, but appreciate your thoughts in this post. The idea of darkness being a womb rather than death is an intriguing one, and helpful in maintaining hope. I do hope that you will soon see light.

    1. The truth is that there is always light, Kristi. Eventually. Sometimes it’s just hard to see from where we are at the moment. Thanks for the chat the other day.

    1. Thank you, Colleen! I try to do the same, and to remember that both dark and light have their place in our lives.
      Sorry this took so long – I’ve been offline much trying to get over this cold. Happy new year to you!

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