I’ve been thinking recently about contrast, about darkness and light, good times and bad time, easy and hard… the polar opposites in our daily lives that seem so often to go together in close proximity.
I saw this video on Facebook, posted by Telus Optik, but about Josh Dueck, a sit skier that I’ve known since 2004. Josh was recently injured and just starting out on his paralympic sport journey when I worked for the Disabled Skiers Association of BC. I remember Josh so strongly because he was one of the first athletes to take part in an athlete development program that I designed. Not only was he one of the first to take part in it, but he is likely still today the most successful, having won a silver medal at Vancouver 2010 Paralympics and also first person to perform a back flip on a sit-ski. More about Josh here.
In the video (which I cannot figure out how to link here… forgive me!) Josh talks about how he contemplates whether we need darkness in order to appreciate lightness. As someone who went through a life altering accident, I imagine that he is someone who has experienced moments of great darkness. But without that accident, and the following moments of darkness, Josh would likely not have had many of the amazing life experiences that followed… Paralympic medallist, appearance on Ellen, international travel and skiing on some of the greatest slopes in the world, motivational speaking career, coach, mentor, innovator, and business owner… From his moments of darkness came his life of lightness…
The past year has been hard for our family. We’ve had a lot of challenges on our road this year. Challenges with work, family, health, school… lots of darkness in our struggles. I won’t lie… there were some really dark days in the past 12 months.
Through it all, our family remained strong… and we have persevered and worked together and built ourselves into an ever stronger unit and ever stronger individuals. If it wasn’t for the darkness, we wouldn’t have grown stronger and we wouldn’t know how strong we truly are.
And we’ve also experienced great joys this year. When we look back on the photos from the year, we are amazed at all the wonderful experiences we managed during these dark days. We went on an amazing road trip to Banff, Jasper and West Edmonton Mall. We spent a relaxing week in Naramata. We went biking on the Kettle Valley Railroad and hiking on an adventurous trail. We walked a peaceful labyrinth and learned meditative spiritual practices. The kids learned how to play better together using dress up, and soccer balls, and a play pool. Mr. T tried out and made the B Team for box lacrosse, and got his first gold medal in a tournament. His skills and confidence in lacrosse grew exponentially. Miss D began speaking and communicating more fully. Mr. H built his confidence and started joining in on lunch-time soccer play. Both boys have learned and grown into the roles of big brothers.
We have had great moments of pride in our children’s abilities, accomplishments, and yes even their perseverance through their own personal struggles. We have great kids!
I wonder if the joys we have seen as a family have been bigger, stronger & brighter, because of the darkness we’ve had in between those moments of joy?
And then, because I am a minister’s wife, it makes me think of this: The light shines in the darkness and the darkness did not comprehend it. (John 1:5)
Maybe in those moments of darkness, we couldn’t comprehend the glimmers of light that could be seen? Maybe in those moments of darkness, the light was born and we just didn’t know it? If it wasn’t for those moments of darkness, maybe our kids and ourselves wouldn’t be as strong as we are now? Maybe it is through the moments of darkness that we are able to build our future light?
We didn’t know that our hope and our light was present in those moments of darkness but in looking back, as we stand in the doorway between dark and light, we see that there was light shining on us even in our darkest days. We just didn’t see it because we were facing the darkness head on. We were preoccupied with the darkness and fighting it.
And so now, we turn around and face towards the light.
Plants and trees and animals… we all go through periods of darkness, winter, hibernation… before the spring where light is stronger and warmer, and we poke our little tentative buds out into the first warm days, and contemplate bursting forth with great joy and colour and vibrancy.
Springtime is such a wonderful time of year perhaps because it follows winter darkness.
Our life is one of contrasts, darkness and light. We can’t have one without the other.