Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Out of the Darkness

In this part of the world we're past our shortest day. The Christmas lights in the village brighten the dark evenings and now the time between sunrise and sunset increases a bit each day.

On October 1st, I began taking the poinsettia to a dark corner of the basement for fourteen hours of no light. If it has ten weeks of this, the lush green plant that filled a large spot in the garden during the frost-free months is supposed to renew its vibrant colour. In mid December mine was just as green as it was in July. Confession - I completely forgot to put it in the dark on two different nights... and there may have been a tad of light over the rafters on occasion when I was sometimes in another part of the cellar. For whatever reason, my efforts failed. Perhaps it will break forth in a brilliant red at some other time of its own choosing - very unlikely without the conditions it requires for the change.

Dark times do a special work. I love the late tenor, Paul Sandberg's, rendition of Andrae Crouch's "Through It All". He sings, "My trials come to only make me strong." In Sparkling Gems from the Greek, Rick Renner teaches the value of difficulties. He encourages his readers to regard times of struggle as opportunities to grow in whatever way is necessary to achieve victory and that the challenge is essential for growth. He suggests that our outlook can be the determining factor in causing hardships to become beneficial to us. (Nov. 16 reading)

We can't know the precise date of the darkest time of events in this world, but we do know that brighter days are coming. In the mean time we can refuse to let trials hinder our progress and instead use them, as Sandberg's velvet voice declared, to make us strong.