It’s a cold, dark New England winter. The days are REALLY cold. The nights are REALLY dark. And months of the cold and the darkness begin to take it’s toll on how you think and feel. 

However, as I’m writing this, sitting in Starbucks (I know it’s hard to believe), the sun just came out from behind the clouds. Although it is 5 degrees out there, sitting here with the sun streaming through the window, I’m not only warmer but can feel my spirits being warmed up as well. Even if the sun lasts for a few minutes, regardless, I’ll take it when I can get it. Or in the words of Rabbi Schneur Zalman of Liadi, “a little light dispels a lot of darkness.” 

The same is true with spiritual darkness. 

I just visited a friend who is battling cancer and losing her fight. She should be deep within the depths of mental, emotional and spiritual darkness, however, she is not. Why? She has a tremendous fighting spirit to be sure, however, a strong, fighting spirit is not enough. There isn’t one reason, she doesn’t have a secret formula or magic pill. Rather, she has dozens, perhaps hundreds, of little reasons, each one with a name, every one she calls “friend.” It is her friends and community which is illuminating her path. 

While I was sitting with her the phone rang no less than half a dozen times. It is like this all day long. Friends are coming, friends are going. Friends cook for her, clean for her, are constantly fretting over her and tending to her, whatever she wants (or frankly, doesn’t want) and whatever she needs (or doesn’t need). None of them have done anything heroic. None of them have had to put their lives on hold, sacrificed much or re-arranged their lives. Rather, each one has simply offered, in their own way, a spark of light. These sparks have been strung together and though there is still so much darkness, equally there is so much light.

Whether we are a little SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder) because of the dark and dreary winter or sad as we sit within life’s darkness – “a little light dispels a lot of darkness.” It doesn’t take much sunshine or soul-shine to illuminate, even if just for a moment, all kinds of cold, darkened nights.

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