Together in the darkness

It’s been a hard week, you guys. And month. And two months…this could go on a long time!

November was…a lot. It was just a lot. It left me pretty defeated.

For the most part I’m pretty open, and I do write about a lot of things that I go through, but there’s also a lot that goes on that I don’t write about and don’t share. Sometimes that’s deliberate, and sometimes it’s just too much to explain. And I’m sure that goes without saying, but I’m saying it in case you’re confused why I’m bemoaning November when the only post I made was about watching Christmas movies.

November was a lot and I was pretty happy to see it go. December, though. It’s letting me down a little, as well.

Especially this past week.

This past week was one of those weeks where it feels like the world is working against you. Where you feel powerless. Where all your efforts end up being all for naught so you start to wonder why you’re even trying in the first place.

I’m pretty done.

I know from past experience that if I start to type it all out, I’ll get halfway through and realize I’m already way past a full length post only to end up deleting everything, so I’m just not even going to try and get into it. It’s mostly all just medical stress, a lot of it bureaucracy. And I mean, yeah, I’m used to it, but this has just been one thing after another, each thing wearing me down a little bit more until I’m all but worn right down into the ground. Which is then of course when another thing happens.

Now, I have a four foot pre-lit Christmas tree in my room. This tree is probably my favourite thing about November and December. I love the warm glow of my tree lights and how they make my whole room feel cozy. They’re set up on a remote (thanks, Lisa!) and so the first thing I do every morning is turn these lights on, and the last thing I do before going to sleep is turn them off. And I know this seems irrelevant but it’s actually not.

Because on Thursday, after Thursday’s stressful stuff happened, I turned off my tree lights. It wasn’t even noon yet, but I was just beyond frustrated with everything and turning off my lights seemed like a good outlet for that frustration. Later that day, still frustrated, I texted my best friend.

Besties at Christmas

Oh my goodness how perfect is it that she’s the star!? Sharing her light with me our whole lives

This is not the first mention of her on this blog, but in case you’re new here, we’ve been friends forever. To the right is a seasonally appropriate throwback photo of us. Below is the text I sent her.

“Everything sucks this week and I’m angry and I kept my Christmas tree lights off all day in protest of the world because I’m mad at it.”

You know, like the mature adult that I am. And then I honestly forgot I’d even sent that text until just before midnight when she replied with the very best reply.

“Oh no, I’ll keep my Christmas tree lights off in solidarity.”

She then asked me what happened, and on Friday, after Friday’s stressful stuff had happened, I filled her in on everything that was going on, including that my lights were still off.

That’s when she told me that so were hers. And sent me the photo to prove it.

And I melted. I just felt so loved. And supported. It made my heart so happy. My favourite thing about how this all went down is that she told me she was turning her lights off in solidarity before even knowing why exactly she was doing it. Because she didn’t need to know. She simply saw that I was sitting in the dark, and she came and sat next to me.

It changed nothing, but it meant everything.

We all have darkness in our lives that we muddle our way through. And yet, we’re oftentimes just so uncomfortable seeing other people in their own darkness. It makes us feel helpless, and so we say and do things to try and pull each other away from it. When that doesn’t work, we end up feeling even more uncomfortable and helpless, and so we shy away from those people and their darkness. And then sometimes, their darkness becomes so dark that we can hardly see them in the middle of it.

Let’s not do that anymore.

Darkness happens. We can’t keep it away from ourselves or from each other. Not forever, anyway. But instead of trying to pull each other away from it, and instead of losing each other in it, we can sit together through it.

It’s harder this way. And scarier. Because we’ve all been through darkness, we all know what it feels like and so why would we ever willingly walk into that? Because. Do you remember what it felt like when you were in the dark? Do you remember how you felt when you didn’t think anyone could see you sitting there in your darkness?

That’s why.

My friend came and sat with me in the dark, just walked right in and joined me. She didn’t try to pull me away from it. She didn’t try to disguise it with some big, blinding spotlight. She just sat with me. She shared some of her light with me.

And then I wasn’t alone anymore. And it wasn’t quite so dark.

So I turned my tree lights back on.

And she did, too.

17 thoughts on “Together in the darkness

  1. Oh, my, this is such a powerful post, Catherine! I have been in a season of darkness as well and I originally was not going to put the big tree up but I finally begged my hubby to go get it from storage and it took me 3 days to get it up and decorated, and I was so sore and tired it didn’t have its usual magic effect on me. Your post brought it all to light, so to speak. You have an amazing friend! Merry Christmas to you and yours.

  2. The unconditional love and friendship that you two shared was very evident and strong even in kindergarten! Reading this blog brought me to tears for the thankfulness that you two share something so special… that you, Catherine, who gives so much to so many, have your angel of light always there for you! I am sending you a huge hug, filled with love and prayers.

  3. Having been blessed with friends who have sat with me in my darkness I understand how much your “star’s” solidarity meant to you. In the midst of your own darkness I hope that you see that you are a light for others.
    Hugs to you Catherine.

  4. You hit on the head where I am too, and going out now to get some pine branches to decorate with the lights back on. Thanks for being a voice in the darkness with us.

  5. This is so beautiful and true. I can connect to everything here, from the loss of hope to the power of friendship. Thank you. I am also there with you in your darkness. xo

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