Copyright © CR Edmunds
This time of year is sacred to many cultures. It has to do with the short days and the long dark nights that bring out the darkness in our souls – the primitive fears and feelings of aloneness and powerlessness that make us huddle around the small light of our hearths, nervously jumping at every noise from the shadows. It seems that we are such little spots in the infinite universe, tiny points of brightness that burn so feebly against those dark nights.
Times are hard now for most of us, here on the bottom half of the economic pile. It’s so easy to feel cheated, to feel that everything we’ve worked for and striven for is being sold out from under us, impoverishing us and disenfranchising us. We fear that our rights and our livelihoods are being stripped from us while the few in power – the few we’ve put there to act in our best interests – profit from our losses and wallow in our suffering.
The sacred holidays approach but many of us are not uplifted by them. We instead become withdrawn in stress and trepidation, resenting the symbols of celebrations around us, feeling left out. We worry that as bad as things are, worse is yet to come and nothing can be done about it. Is the end truly so near? Will we - can we - keep up the struggle? Should we bother?
But this is just the reaction to another long, dark night. We are, after all, humans – each of us more alike than not. We lash out at perceived dangers in our dark private terrors, when in truth safety is all around us. We forget that we are each the one who stands at our neighbor’s back. It has always been that way, from the days of saber-tooth tigers. It is no different today.
Truly, it is time for us to open our eyes and see that the shadows contain no danger, for they are cast by our family and friends – those who share the vigil of the long night with us. It is time for us to cease to cower in fear or lash out in anger. It is time for us to remember our faith in who we are, in what our place is in this life.
It is time to give thanks that we have come this far and to trust that we, together, can and will endure and prosper.
It is time to band together, to find cause to celebrate and to forget our fears for a few hours or days. To focus on hope and faith and a brighter future.
These are the facts: The solstice always passes, the days always start lengthening, and even though it is still cold and dark and hard for a long time afterwards, somehow we can push through it. Brighter days will come.
Like our ancestors before us, let us make merry and joyful noise and, in doing so, banish the darkness of the night.