NaBloPoMo 10: From Darkness to Light

By now, I hope, the lights are back on across the country, and that the last vestages of Hurricane Sandy are begining to receed. Clear on the other side of the country, I am grateful that our primary natural disaster comes with no warning. I’m prepared or I’m not, but I don’t have to deal with the anticipation.

I was moved today by the story of Mike, from Toms River, NJ. If you haven’t heard, Mike was swept out to sea by a wave, and spent four hours swimming back to shore. With no idea where he was when he finally made land, he entered an abandoned home, wrapped himself in blankets, and in the dark, he wrote a message to the homeowner and his own father. Sure of his death, Mike just wanted both to know that he tried to do the right thing: he tried to contact his dad, and he took nothing but essentials for warmth from the home.

Eventually Mike was rescued, reunited with his father, and from the story it seems that everyone tangentially involved was deeply touched by the events that unfolded around them. I, too, was moved by the story, even though I remain worried about friends in New York and New Jersey that are still waiting.

It all got me to thinking about darkness….

For Mike, for my friends, the darkness was real. I can just imagine his world, devoid of light, as he felt his way around a strange home in search of meeting a few primitive needs –warmth, water, perhaps a bit of food, and his father. But darkness is often metaphorical as well. When we keep a secret, we leave someone “in the dark.” There were the Dark Ages and there is the Dark Side. Some have a heart of darkness.

In Judeo-Christian Creation what is the first thing to be dispelled? Darkness. God creates light on day one. And yet we don’t always have light…we are left with a world that balances light and darkness, each in turn.

In truth, we all have moments of personal darkness, times of fear or pain or anger. But we also all have the gift of light; the means to illuminate the life of those around us; a way to dispel their darkness.

Perhaps this is a one-month anniversary piece for World Mental Health Day (Oct 10), or a reflection of a grant recently awarded to UCLA to study depression following breast cancer treatment; perhaps it is a result of the continued dis-ease I am feeling about the election.

But the upshot is this…imagine a world in which we each sought to bring our light to one another. Imagine if we were aware enough of the darkness, both big and small, that surrounds the people in our lives. Imagine if reached out and offered our light, be it to a friend, family member, or someone who is hungry at the freeway on ramp.

One candle can light an infinite number of flames. I’m going to start looking for more ways to share light.

6 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Susan
    Nov 10, 2012 @ 14:09:01

    What a touching story! I think it’s so beautiful the way that you wrote about darkness and how we can share light with those around us. Great post!


  2. Karen Sutherland
    Nov 11, 2012 @ 21:33:23

    dear lori,

    you have such a gift for writing, for touching hearts, and for inspiring others with your stories. your
    “…from darkness to light” is especially resonating with me after 15 days without power, heat, et. al, now restored. with so many others suffering so much more loss and devastation from sandy, i know we are the lucky ones.

    though none of us have the capacity to influence power grids in these kinds of catastrophies, i love that you wrote about sharing the light within ourselves. though i wish none of us who have had or are experiencing breast cancer had to endure it, in some ways it has widened our shoulders and hearts, made us more receptive to the needs of others, and shown us the power of simple things that can make a difference. just walking down the street, or being in the treatment area and making eye contact with someone who may be hurting inside, then smiling at them with genuine caring often elicits a smile back. it’s a little miracle to see a complete transformation of a face when lit up with that smile. and i believe every smile counts. it changes one both inside and outwardly. and it can lead to more – a conversation, a chance to listen to another’s story, an opportunity to lend emotional support – even a warm hug, as so many times happens. a simple smile can lead to a cascade of heart-warming and renewed feelings of gratitude, of being happy to have been even a small bright spot in someone’s day, and of heightened awareness that we are not alone on this crazy earth-bound journey that can sometimes bring us to our knees with pain and despair. it’s worthy that we keep ourselves aware that when we seek to uplift others we in turn are uplifted.

    so, dear lori, i send you and your readers a cyber smile, and thank you for this most inspiring and touching post. i hope you can feel it, and that it lightens and uplifts you if only for just a moment.

    love, XOXO,

    karen, TC


    • Lori
      Nov 12, 2012 @ 11:21:03

      What a beautiful response, Karen…and I agree, the very gratitude with which we come to live life after a diagnosis opens us up to some many possibilities. I dare say (with my power and heat working, mind you), that it is the greater measure of light that shines from our hearts.

      Thank you so much for your thoughts!!



  3. chemobrainfog
    Nov 13, 2012 @ 10:13:04

    I’m glad I’m catching up on your writing….. and I’m very glad to see kTC’s comment! There are so many people I’ve missed throughout my period of “darkness” ….. everyone here is right at the top of that list…

    Did NOT know about the NJ story. Missed tons of stories having only a transistor radio with about four channels for NINE days….. That story has me in tears.

    The story of the woman whose children were swept away in the floodwaters WHILE SHE WAS ASKING FOR HELP AT THE DOOR OF SOMEONE’S HOME has me ANGRY in ways I can’t describe. I don’t know the details. I just know that a 2 and 4 years old were buried in one casket last week and there is blood on the hands of someone who closed the door on this poor mother…



    • Lori
      Nov 13, 2012 @ 11:43:51

      Welcome back…I am DEVASTATED by the story you shared. And I fear there are many, many more that, though not as horrific, reflect poorly on humanity. Time to spread more light…



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