Solstice: Light and Dark

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On the last winter solstice, the longest night of the year, I sat in a car at the mouth of Rock Canyon with my best friend and cried until my eyes were salty and stinging and dry and my chest ached from the heaving and my lips were cracked. Then I stepped out into the cold mouth of the canyon, cried some more, and yelled at God—a long string of angry sorrow and curse words. I stood outside in the dark and yelled until my voice was hoarse and my fingertips were numb. I stood in the cold and felt like a wisp, a shell, such a fragile thing. I was fighting for my life right then, holding on to the edge of a cliff and constantly working to convince myself that I could survive the pain, that I could find happiness, that I was worthy of love. So often I felt that my pesky needs for love and emotional safety and authenticity were making everyone around me miserable, that life would be better for others without me around. Tightly tucked into the dark and cold of the longest winter I’ve ever known, I didn’t know if I’d ever make my way out. I just kept waking up to one more minute of light each day, watched as the day’s light lengthened, hurt and hoped. 

Today was summer solstice, the longest day of the year. I slept in until 11, went to lunch with new friends at my favorite park, washed my quilt at the laundromat, rode the train to Murray to visit my Aunt Gwen who reminded me how loved and supported I am, how grateful she is for me, how she admires me. Just past sunset I drove to Rock Canyon again. I walked into the mouth of the canyon to sit on a boulder and cry. There is still so much pain (and more and different pain) but it is softer around the edges, and I am stronger. I talked to my little brother, told him how much I miss his sparkly eyes and his mischievous giggle. The warm breeze blew through my hair as crickets sang their night song. Orange light beyond the lake faded as the stars peeked out through clouds that moved softly through the darkening blue. I talked to God, whispered a dozen thank yous for the beauty of this world, for this life and the labyrinthine journey I’m taking. After the crying and the whispered prayer, I found the tiny stage of an amphitheater and danced to Regina Spektor, sang, bowed to the applauding stars.

Tonight I held myself tight in love and compassion, reveling in the treasure that is me—that beautiful and imperfect person who is always here at the end of each day and each grief, the friend I’m learning to cherish with each waking. As sorrow and anger and loss have ravaged me this year, as so many of the outer trappings of my identity have fallen away, I’ve finally learned to love myself without condition. It is new love: fierce and soft and open and grateful. Tonight there is such light, such light, such light shining through the cracks and the flaws of my wandering soul. 

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2 thoughts on “Solstice: Light and Dark

  1. Sometimes our travels leave us covered in the mud and muck of a mortal world. We walk in worn moccasins that barely protect our feet. We scrabble for extra pieces of warmth from whatever source is nearby and cry out to angry skies that continue to regurgitate droplets of life. Our hair becomes tangled with briars and thorns that the Lord has placed in our path and we come to believe that the beauty He saw at this creation has been ripped from His grasp. Our eyes are blinded by the filth of mortality. When our soul reaches exhaustion, and we pause for breath, it is only then that we notice whispers in the wind; quieting our troubled heart and mind. Sometimes it is the movement of placing arms around our soul that gives us courage to move forward with faith. Faith that this path alone, will lead us to a warm hearth, where the Lord will welcome us home and declare our minute effort as enough. For it is enough. You are enough. He watches as you struggle to allow your Savior to wash the grime of the journey away. Allow your heart to accept His atonement, which will cover you in renewed purpose. This is when our eyes reflect our soul as our Father intended. When we are able to sing on stage and accept applause from invisible admirers. Those who have traveled their own path and know of the pain, the burdens, and the relief that will inevitably come. Your soul deserves to be hugged more often…

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