It’s a freezing February morning and I woke to see the world transformed by a blizzard. There’s pristine snow disguising so many familiar things; my neighbors’ garbage pails, for instance. If only the ugly schism in our country could be covered as easily.
January transformed us, too, for it was a month of stark opposites such as I’ve never seen before. First the hate-filled attack on the Capitol, followed two brief weeks later by an orderly change of power. ”Democracy has prevailed,” declared our new president.
As hopeful as Biden’s speech was, they aren’t the words that have been replaying in my head. Rather I’m challenged by the closing lines of Junior Poet Laureate Amanda Gorman’s poem.:
For there will always be light
““““` `If only we’re brave enough to see it
I““““` `If only we’re brave enough to be it.
Light is a metaphor in so many poems, songs, quotes. I’ve used the image many times, even as recently as a blog where I quoted J. K. Rowling about the need to “find the light” even in darkness.
But there’s a huge difference between finding light, and being it. For instance, suppose you’re handed a daunting assignment: create a meaningful inaugural ceremony in the midst of a pandemic, without the visual and auditory images of massive crowds cheering. So what do you do? Do you wait for an illusory fairy godmother to come up with ideas (she’s been on leave lately). What if there’s a light within you that assures you that you have the imagination to empower a novel idea. Instead of crowds of people, you’ll crowd the Mall with a dramatic sea of American flags. You’ll add rows of candles to memorialize those we have lost to Covid. Images so successful, there are already demands they be continued in the future!
Closer to home, the manuscript you’ve slaved over for years is rejected again and again. So what do you do? Sink into the darkest of moods and stay there? Or does a power within you illuminate the strength to keep trying? My first short story was rejected by editors 28 times. On the verge of giving up, I summoned up enough belief to submit the story again. On the 29th time it became my first published story.
I don’t mean to imply that belief magically makes things happen. What I do mean to say – and that I work at every day – is that the ability to rise above defeat does ultimately reside within us. We don’t have to wait for someone else to light a candle for us, we can keep our own light burning ; a light that can only be extinguished by a lack of faith in ourselves.
BOOKS: COME and GO – available through BookBaby.com, Widow’s Walk –iUniverse.com; Turning Toward Tomorrow –Xlibris.com, Ten Women of Valor and Role Play– both available through CreateSpace.com and Amazon.com; also Amazon Kindle.