I read a great quote recently, “If you cannot look on the bright side, I will sit with you in the dark.” It was attributed to the wonderful story of “Alice in Wonderland.” I researched the quote and its origin became unclear. Apparently the quote may not have come from Alice in Wonderland. (Imagine that – something on the internet may not be truthful!!! Shocking!!!)
Regardless, it is still a good thought. Read it again, “If you cannot look on the bright side, I will sit with you in the dark.” (We are not talking about darkness that is dangerous – if that is the case, run, do not walk, to get help!)
It appears that the person CANNOT look on the bright side; it isn’t that that do not want to look or do not desire to look, but that they CANNOT look on the bright side.
This Christmas season, we are all going to find ourselves near someone who cannot look on the bright side. No matter how wonderful the gift or how bright the Christmas lights, they cannot (not that they don’t want to, but they cannot) look on the bright side. So, what do we do?
The author of the quote (whoever it is) suggests that we sit in the dark with them. Does that mean we don’t see the lights on the Christmas tree or the presents with the ribbons? No, sitting in the dark with them does not mean that we can experience their pain or ignore our own joy. It means that we are with them, where they are, not prattling on about how they ought to just cheer up. We just sit…with them. We don’t debate if they could have kept from entering the dark “if they had just done” a, b or c. And, we don’t discuss how eventually “everything will be OK.” We just sit…in the dark…with them.
Folks have done that for me. I have been in the dark at times. I didn’t want to be there and at times I could not imagine how to get out. But, in the dark I was and looking on the bright side just wasn’t an option at the time. Those who sat…in the dark…with me mean more than they know.
Before you family and friends start calling my hubby asking, “is Jill all right???”, don’t worry. I am fine!! But I do know that others are not so fine this year. This Christmas is their first without that special person; this time of the year brings up difficult memories; for some, the end of 2019 is bringing new struggles.
My personality finds sitting in the dark so very difficult. I want to cheer folks up. In fact, in first grade, our teacher, Mrs. Starrett yelled at our class so much that one of my classmates wet her pants. That really made Mrs. Starrett mad and she yelled at us more as she stomped out of the room to find the janitor. As she left, I noticed that some kids were crying (and the room smelled like pee), so I decided to cheer everyone up. I stood on the top of the table and encouraged my classmates to sing with me. Let’s just say that Mrs. Starrett’s return to the room DID NOT contribute positively to my efforts to lighten the mood.
Even though old habits die hard, I have learned the value of sitting with someone in the dark. Instead of singing, I pray. Instead of speaking, I pray. Instead of trying to get them to see the bright side, I pray.
This season don’t forget the importance of sitting….in the dark…with them.
Jill (just one of God’s kids)
“Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ.” (Galatians 6:2)