The One Where There Are Dark Days, But We Are Bright Lights

current events / Monday, August 14th, 2017

*There have always been dark days.

Days that feel bleak and heavy-hearted and steeped in a tired knowledge that nothing will ever really change.

Days that brim over with dark red anger, the color of spilled blood, the smell of sulfur, an electric charge on the air.

Days that hold only resignation, a soft sigh for what might have been, a slight shaking of the head at all the things unfolding before us.

Days that hold the hard diamond of revolution in their hand, cut-edge potential and harsh brilliance, the machines of war taking up a hundred different shapes on your doorstep.

There have always been dark days, but we haven’t always had immediate access to the details; where once there were whispers on wagons and letters on horses, bold printed papers and treasonous pamphlets, now there are twenty-four hours news cycles and an endless sea of opinionated blogs, breaking stories about broken hearts and half-truths propped up on the stilts of speculation.

We want to know all the things, all the time, even when the knowing is a blow we always see coming.

We never duck. We stand still and take it in the gut, again and again.

There have always been dark days. Yes. These are no darker than any other.

Historically speaking, we are living in an age of immense light, but it’s so hard to see it sometimes, isn’t it? There is still such crushing tragedy at every turn. There is war at noon, terrorism at five o’clock, crippling poverty at nine; there is maybe some pestilence for your breakfast hour, racism at lunch, and an unending trampling of the human spirit for dinner. It is a wonder we can manage to pull ourselves out of bed some mornings.

Still, though, we live in the light.

We are marvelous animals with opposable thumbs and indomitable spirit.

We walk upright in the sun and we lay down to dream under uncountable stars. We know the touch of a stranger’s hand when we fall, the feel of a lover’s thumb on our lips, the contagious joy of a dog who knows you’re home; we have sunrises like the sleeping breath of God, we hear the lonely whistle of a train and know an ache for home, we can look at a piece of art and feel the world expand underneath our skin.

We have bones that move to give birth to the future, we hold new life to our breast and understand hope, we live out the smallest lives in the grandest ways and every story we have is important to someone.

Sometimes I want to run away from it all.

I want to find an abandoned farmhouse at the edge of a forest, and fill my days with simplicity and silence. But that isn’t the world I live in anymore. That isn’t the world we have now.

What we have is a platform to endless knowledge, and the ability to spread awareness, and kindness, and understanding on a global scale. My responsibility as a citizen of the world is to take this unbelievable gift, and to use it wisely; to use it as a tool, and a treasure, and accord it both the respect and the perspective it deserves.

I can be aware without becoming oversaturated.

I can care without becoming despondent.

I can fight against the black edges of humanity by seeking out the best of it, by championing the light-bringers, by holding my own torch as high as my arm will stretch.

I can be both hopeful and realistic; in an imperfect world created by imperfect people, sometimes evil does triumph, sometimes the good guys don’t win.

But I’m not going to write about them.

I’m going to write about you.

And you.

And you.

And me.

Because there are dark days, but we are bright lights.


*written exactly three years ago, proving my point, which makes me both sad and grateful.