The Discipline of a Million Points of Light

Way back, when Mr. Spit was still in the military, they had this rule when they were on parade - you didn't look down at your feet while you are walking. (On a positive note, Mr. Spit can always tell me how many stairs there are, he just knows. Odd, but more helpful than you can imagine when moving large items around the house!) "Why would you look at your feet?", they would say. You look where you are going. Where you look is where your feet will go.

And, I think we understand this as truth. This had been a brutally hard few weeks for Mr. Spit and I. Between the baby loss ceremony, which started it, and something that happened at the tree planting, that really broke our hearts, with the meeting with the peri and a miscarriage in the middle, it's been a rough go. There is just so much wrong right now, we aren't sure where to go next and what to do. And that's been hard. Support has been hard to come by. It's easy to get stuck in sadness.

And so I have been thinking about goodness and kindness and compassion. They say you find out who your friends are, when tragedy strikes. And this is true for us, but perhaps not in the way the statement is intended. We truly have found out who our friends are, as people. We have found those that have gone over and above and beyond the duty of care. Those who have astounded us with their generosity of spirit.

I have been thinking about where my focus is. It's easy to dwell on what hurts. That tends to be what captures our attention, what screams to be noticed. It is a discipline to look elsewhere. When I look elsewhere, I see a million tiny points of light. The evidence that God is in the universe, and that I am loved. The evidence that there is beauty and goodness and joy all around me, when I look for it.

Make no mistake, this is a discipline. I don't always want to look up, to look out, to think about where I am headed. Most often, it just seems easier to look down, my nature is to draw my grief around me like a shroud, and to stay in one place. It takes a conscious effort in days when I am lost, hurting, bewildered and broken hearted, to look hard, extra hard. I must seek out joy, seek out opportunities to look up. It is hard to seek out those I know will be supportive, and to forgive those who aren't. It's hard to focus on the things that make me feel joy. It is hard to seek out tiny points of light when I am exhausted.

But in the last week, I have been forcing myself to. Forcing myself to accept invitations to dinner and to card making and to BBQ's. And I go, sometimes gritting my teeth, not wanting to be there. But after I arrive, I settle in. I find myself enjoying myself. I remember what it is to laugh, to smile, to tease. I feel a lightness settle on me. I am happier.

In thinking about my favourite things. In the taste of a freshly brewed latte on my lips, in the sound of a favourite song on my ipod, in looking at my garden to see what has bloomed, in hearing the voice of a friend. In thinking about these things, I am lifted past the sorrow of grief, into a more enjoyable world. Into a place where I am happy. Not the same happiness from my old life, but a happiness that still contains joy. And perhaps, the joy is more sweeter, having known sorrow. Perhaps I am more able to accept the joy as a respite from sorrow, from such great sadness.

And I remember, in the midst of grief and sorrow and darkness, there are always a million tiny points of light, when I look for them. Tiny points of light are all around us, waiting for us to find them. It is not that the tiny points of light somehow eliminate the sorrow, but rather they give it perspective. They are each a small light, but gather enough together, and there is light to lift the sorrow.

I am thankful.