With the winter solstice upon us, many of us in Wellspring groups have been asking the question – what sustains you in times of darkness? As a recent attendee at a solstice gathering I found myself wrestling with the question again this year – and this year the answer came quickly. Remembering, I said. Remembering sustains me. When I remember that every situation and every one is a mix of light and dark – when I remember that I have friends and family all around me to hold me up when I cannot stand alone- that is what sustains me in the dark.
This week I heard the news of our fellow Unitarian Universalists in Clearwater, Florida. I heard the terrible story of a father who killed his two children, his ex-wife, and her partner – and then finally turned the gun on himself.
As I read the articles and heard the words of my colleagues who are trying their best to bring comfort to a devastating situation – I cried and felt as if the darkness was surrounding me. This kind of evil is so hard to accept – so hard to explain or comprehend. And then add to it the reality that the attacker was not outside of our circle – but within it – and the story gets even closer to home. Small children, women in love, and a man who threw away all that he once held dear – all lost to the undertow of evil – of homophobia and violence.
Most days I like to believe that we are beyond this as a society – and certainly as Unitarian Universalists. But the truth of the matter is that this capacity for evil lives in each one of us – and the real question for me then becomes not only how do I sustain myself in the darkness, but how do I and do we ward off the shadows of evil that can seduce us and lead us away from connection with all that is holy and good? As I rage and question and cry – I hear the voice of a colleague knocking at the door of my mind – lean in to the love, she tells me, lean in to the love and the darkness at your door will be bearable. This is where your hope lies. So this winter as the darkness deepens and the light returns I find myself searching for the new connections that arise from this tragedy, grasping for the hope I hear in others voices, and leaning in close to my friends and family as they hold me up one more time.