Monastic Strategies: Finding Light on the Darkest Day

Monastic Strategies: Finding Light on the Darkest Day January 7, 2021

Monastic Strategies: Finding Light on the Darkest Day

Light on the Darkest Day

For months, many of us have been living through days which seem to be competing to be the darkest day. We are lonely and afraid, anxious and full of doubts. Each day appears to have its own way to be the darkest day.

Some of us worry about getting sick or spreading sickness to people we love. We may be concerned about people we miss and cannot see. Some of us wonder when we will lose our a job we love, or our life savings, or the one thing we believe we most need.

How will we keep going when we get to our darkest day?

Many of us had the most challenging year we have ever experienced last year. We struggled to continue putting one foot in front of the other, just trying to make it to the end of the year. Some of hoped to get to our birthday, or through the election, or to Christmas, or to the new year.

Each time we made it one more step, to one more goal, we found a darker day than the days before.

Some of us just want to make it to the Inauguration in a couple of weeks. We might have been excited about the runoff election in Georgia on Tuesday. Then we woke up to the darkest day yet.

What do we do when the days seem to grow darker instead of brighter? Where do we find light on the darkest day?

We may try to find light in other people, or in a good book or movie, or great ideas. Some of us look for light in entertaining experiences or intense emotions.

Eventually we find ourselves on a darker day, darker than we realized we could find.

Finding Light on the Darkest Day

Most of us are afraid of darkness. We feel darkness growing darker and threatening to overwhelm us.

Some of us grow tired of searching for light on the darkest day. We give up and close our eyes, making our own darkness even darker.

Searching for light on our darkest day is not only about scanning the horizon looking for distant stars. The light we hope to find is not only from pinpoints on the edge of what we can see.

The light on our darkest day is spiritual life within us.

It can be a challenge to see the light we carry in ourselves. Some of us are so busy paying attention to the horizon we cannot see our own light. Darkness may overwhelm the light within us.

When I get tired it is easier for dark days to overwhelm me, easier to feel discouraged and frustrated. I can lose sight of light on dark days and start to think there is no light there.

My ability to see light on the dark days can be affected by how tired I am.

It is almost as if I forget what light looks like. I need to take time to catch my breath and remember what it is like to find light in the darkness. Ironically, closing my eyes can help me see light in the darkness.

Holding Tight on Our Darkest Day

Some of us grasp tightly onto the knot at the end of our rope, almost at the end of our hope. Our hands, our fingers, are stiff and sore. Our arms shake from holding on so tightly for so long. Every fiber of who we believe we are is focused on not letting go.

We wait, seemingly beyond hope, for light in the darkness.

We will probably not be able to hold on much longer. Not able to save ourselves. There is only one thing remaining within our power. As the rope that holds us safe is slipping from our fingers, we pray.

Ours is not a prayer of fancy words or complicated ideas. We do not pray as we think we are supposed to, we pray as we need to pray. We pray beyond words, with whimpering, with screams. Our prayer gives voice to the fears which terrorize us, the pain which puts us in agony. We pray as our grip fails and we feel ourselves falling.

As we pray and sob, and begin to fall, we start to glimpse light in the darkness.

Our prayer appears to light a candle in the darkness, but it is only part of the truth. We have been paying so much attention to holding on we have ignored the spiritual light within us. Have we been concentrating so much effort on the darkness we have ignored the light?

We begin to see light in new ways. Recognizing the light is welcoming us as much, or more, as we welcome it, the light of our candle glows around us.

We realize we are not falling, but soaring.

There is Light on Our Darkest Day

Our light on the darkest day may not be the glimmer of a distant sun. Each of us becomes light in the darkness when we share the flame of one candle with ourselves and people around us.

We remember the experience of finding light in the darkness and how it makes us feel. As the memory takes shape within us we become our own light on our darkest day.

Light dances within us and we share the light with people around us. We appreciate again we have something to offer, something valuable to share. Darkness does not threaten to overwhelm us as much.

Rather than desperately seeking light in the vast expanse of darkness we recognize the spiritual light within us.

We grow in appreciation for how we are lit from within. Our light spreads to new parts of ourselves. We share the light we have found with other people. The light in the darkness grows.

Our lives become light on the darkest day.

Where do we find light on the darkest day?

How can we be light in the dark day for someone else?

[Image by scottfeldstein]

Greg Richardson is a spiritual life mentor and coach in Southern California. He has served as an assistant district attorney, an associate university professor, and is a lay Oblate with New Camaldoli Hermitage near Big Sur, California. Greg’s website is and his email address is

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