Into the Dark, December 11

Every year at this time, I feel the anxiety and restlessness begin to rise within me, and the cold settles into my bones. Every year, I need to consciously ease my spirit into the season. This year, from the beginning of December until Epiphany, I will set it down here on the blog. May we journey into the darkness with intention and tenderness.

Panic, a low-grade sense of not-right-ness, of un-cope-ability, wants to be the word of the day. Yesterday’s sore neck turned out to be a full-blown headache/migraine thing, and I sort of ghosted my way through the day. That all sounds like a complaint, but it sets the stage for this morning’s emotional “migraine”–when you feel bad, you feel like you’ll never feel better, you know? Like somehow, this pain in the neck, this uncertainty, this sense of doom and gloom is all it’s ever going to be.

But of course it isn’t. Pain fades. New forms of certainty and rhythm arise. Gloom and doom lift. The sun shines again. The shadows offer gifts of insight and wonder. And that’s the story of Advent for me. Sometimes, you have to endure to get through the night to the daytime. There’s my word for today: endure. I know: There’s so much joy in the lights and the music and the cookies, in the parties and the planning. Still, the walk into the darkness is an endurance test for some of us some years. Ten more days of walking into the night, and then we can turn around and start walking back into the daylight.

(And I’m okay, really. Just caught in the web of the season. Hit harder by the lengthy nights than I sometimes am. Which is why I am writing these daily reflections, of course. To make it through. To leave myself a trail of bread crumbs for next year’s journey.)

Gratitude List:
1. Today is not yesterday
2. Dinner with Dorm Students last evening
3. Twinkling lights in the living room
4. Cheese
5. Featherbed

May we walk in Beauty!

“When I despair, I remember that all through history the way of truth and love have always won. There have been tyrants and murderers, and for a time, they can seem invincible, but in the end, they always fall. Think of it—always.” —Mahatma Gandhi

“Organic images are destroyed if we subject them to linear thinking. How often we judge them as “bizarre” or “weird.” They need to be allowed to grow like plants in a spiraling movement. They carry emotional and imaginative energy as well as intellectual meaning, and as they spiral they are illumined with nuances of feeling. Hence their power to bring wholeness.” —Marion Woodman

“We need beauty because it makes us ache to be worthy of it.” —Mary Oliver

“Beauty is not a luxury but a strategy for survival.” —Terry Tempest Williams

“The wrong shall fail, the right prevail, with peace on earth, goodwill to [all].” —Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

4 thoughts on “Into the Dark, December 11

  1. Beth,
    I wanted to thank you for what you have been sharing this Advent season. It mirrors my own struggles in the dark (within and without). Your naming it and sharing it feels like companionship through this annual darker journey of waiting, suffering, hoping, quieting, be-ing, listening…

    Also, to shine my own little light into the dark, I wanted to share with you that I have made an Advent practice of noting in my journal the sunrise and sunset times for each day, and weather. This has helped me be a record-keeper/observer, not just a victim :)… And another thing our Scandinavian-rooted family observes is St. Lucia (St. Lucy) Day on the 13th of December. My spirit is uplifted in knowing that beginning on St. Lucia Day (in Valley Forge area) the sunset times actually begin to lengthen again!! (Sunrise times still continue to be later until January 12, making winter solstice on 12/21.) This encourages my heart (even though I still have to deal with months of winter’s cold….).

    blessings and gratitude ~

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh! This really helps! I love the idea of recording the times, instead of just feeling the weight of the dying of days. And I will celebrate St. Lucia Day this year with gusto, and look to the afternoons! Thank you.


  2. Hi Beth, Every year, our Presbyterian church hands out Advent readings no every year they remain mostly unread in our house. This year, we are following along with you in your journey back to the light. Sometimes we read things twice. Your words have inspired, consoled and offered hope.

    I wanted to let you know how much we have appreciated your writing.


    Sent from my iPad


    Liked by 1 person

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