This weekend, my two and a half year old daughter hit the “why” stage in full force! Now, she’s pretty much always asked, “why,” but this weekend it has been probably 9,000 why’s…and that’s not an exaggeration. My mom said I always asked, “why” a million times a day and eventually, she quit trying to give me an answer and started responding with, “I don’t know, Jen; you tell me why.” 

Personally, I like to attribute my awesome critical thinking skills to my mom’s frustration with me as a toddler 😉 So today, when I realized we were going down the never-ending why path, I started responding with, “You tell me why.” Tonight at the park, I told my daughter it was getting dark and we would need to leave soon. She of course asked why. I said, “Because it’s getting dark.” Again, I got another, “Why?” And then I paused.

Why does it get dark?

Not the scientific, literal answer. I skipped a lot of school, but I was present enough to know why it gets dark. The answer that I started pondering tonight is the deep, meaningful answer to why it gets dark. 

My life is so up and down sometimes. It really is. When it’s up, it’s really up. And when it’s down, it’s darker than you could ever imagine. So: why does it get dark? Why do we have these low points? 

I have done a whole lot of work on post traumatic growth in therapy this past year. I think sometimes it gets dark so that we can appreciate the light – so we can appreciate the high points in life. I think there is meaning in every dark point in life. It’s what we do during those dark times that makes us who we are. 

In the dark, I am often afraid. I am afraid of the past and the future, and struggling to just be in the present. When I’m in those dark places, I isolate from everyone. I become obsessive over my racing thoughts; I begin searching for an escape. But when I get to the other side, when the light finds me again, I feel relief and freedom. These past 329 days, I have made it through the dark and back into the light countless times without cutting myself. And each time that happened, I gained a little more confidence in my stength and a little more self-compassion. The dark was there to teach me how to be stronger than a razor blade. It was there to show me how to live a different way. 

This post about darkness and light couldn’t come at a more perfect time. Tomorrow is Diwali! I don’t currently celebrate Diwali, but it is a tradition that I think is really awesome and meaningful. It is a celebration of light; celebrating light conquering darkness. 

Today, I am respecting the darkness, but living in the light.