Night Vision

The other night, I was out to dinner.  My drink came with a fruit wedge in it.  It had a yellow rind, which made me think it was a lemon; I wanted a lime.  Mildly disappointed, I shifted the glass just enough so that the ice cubes changed positions and, low and behold, that lemon turned into a lime!  Obviously, it was a lime the whole time, but upon first glance and based on the yellow color of the rind, I thought I had a lemon – turns out it was a not very ripe lime.  Sure, I could talk about the metaphor of not judging a book by its cover or things not always being what they appear, but those aren’t the thoughts that immediately struck me.  I thought about transitions: being in one place, trying to get to another place, feeling stuck in between nowhere and somewhere, and wondering if you’ll ever find your way out of the unknown and into something better, healthier, and right-er.  That’s a tough place to be and the journey between where you don’t want to be and where you’re trying to go typically lasts longer than it took me to realize my lemon was actually a lime.  

The poem below, “Sweet Darkness” by David Whyte, is for anyone who finds themselves in between the yellow and green of their own journey – the place of uncertainty, of wanting, wishing, and hoping, but not knowing where the path of becoming will take you. It’s hard to see in the dark and even though it’s tempting to want to strain to try to see what the light will eventually reveal, you might do better to shut your eyes and, instead, listen, feel, notice, breathe, and repeat.  Let the darkness hold you and offer its wisdom as an incubator holds an infant and offers it life.  

SWEET DARKNESS
When your eyes are tired
the world is tired also.
When your vision has gone
no part of the world can find you.
It’s time to go into the night
where the dark has eyes
to recognize its own.
It’s time to go into the dark
where the night has eyes
to recognize its own.
There you
can be sure
you are not beyond love.
The dark will make a home for you tonight.
The night
will give you a horizon
further than you can see.
You must learn one thing.
The world was made to be free in.
Give up all the other worlds
except the one to which you belong.
Sometimes it takes darkness and the sweet
confinement of your aloneness
to learn
anything or anyone
that does not bring you alive
is too small for you.