More Light

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I don’t remember ever seeing so many friends collectively say good riddance to a year before. I’m not surprised given all that our country has lost in 2017 but also seems like there’s been much personal loss too. Here’s to 2018. A year of more light…

On Christmas Eve I was at our church’s service with my people – my two kids and husband – and surrounded by a whole lot of kind people, the ones who restore your faith in humanity. Quite unexpectedly, while I was reading the bulletin and the long list of dedications for the memorial poinsettias decorating the sanctuary, a heaviness and wave of hopelessness swept me as I considered all the pain humans are asked to endure in a lifetime. Hint – Way. Too. Much. 

This hopeless place is unusual for me as I am typically an optimist. I don’t mean a “let’s deny pain and suffering” positive thinker; I mean optimism as relentless hope that things can and will get better… There’s always a way to figure things out, people will do the right thing again; everyone can grow and change; Justice will reign one day; love will win eventually if we work toward it; obstacles can be overcome to reach a meaningful goal; businesses can grow; it’s never too late to pursue a dream. And there’s always a way.

But not that night…that particular moment was my lowest point since the days after the election.

I know that wallowing in the suffering in my head makes it pretty impossible to do much good and I was desperate so I asked the question, “What do I do then?” And right then, the heaviness lifted just as quickly as it came. “Be the light.” It is truly that simple and that incredibly complex. It’s the only way: whether it be shining a light on the injustices of the world and working to change them or smiling at a stranger at Starbucks.

Be the light. Not as a way of minimizing or denying the pain in the world or ignoring the unjust, scary place our country is in right now, but to ease the pain where I can just a bit and work very, very hard to make it better.

That’s my hope for 2018. Light. More light. MUCH more light. Happy New Year and thanks for all the inspiring work that you do in the world.

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Update:
Today, I started an online chat with AT&T. I am usually kind of a difficult customer to be honest, but I attempted to bring some light to Steve, my agent , and at the end of the call he thanked me for being so patient and told me I was the nicest customer he had all day. (In a way that imparted the only nice one.) And then I thanked him and shared that I was working on being a better customer. More light. Much more light.