“And once the storm is over, you won’t remember how you made it through, how you managed to survive. You won’t even be sure, whether the storm is really over. But one thing is certain. When you come out of the storm, you won’t be the same person who walked in. That’s what this storm’s all about.” ― Haruki Murakami
About five years ago, I traveled to the Amalfi Coast in Italy. It was one of the most beautiful places I’ve ever seen.
From the perch in the village where I stayed, the view looked like the above photograph, and the view from neighboring Positano, below:
One afternoon, storms rolled in from the sea. The change was drastic.
Once the rain had pelted the dramatic coastline for hours, and the sea surged and crashed into the rocks far below, a stream of light peeked out from the heavy clouds. When the darkness parted, the landscape looked even more beautiful than it had before. Why is that?
Darkness and Perspective
Storms come. Life isn’t easy. Last week, I wrote using the same quote as the beginning of this post. In a wider view, in the past few weeks, the state of the United States has been dire. The Presidential debate, the shootings, and the riots — all of these have weighed heavy on our hearts. The GreatNewBooks.org team have talked about the difficulties in our country recently. Has it ever been this bad? It’s impossible not to shake our heads and wonder how we have gotten where we are as a nation.
I’m not a political person, and I’m also not one who has an explanation for all the things happening. But I am one who has learned to set my feet on the ground in hard times, root into faith, set my face to the wind, and watch the storm come.
Storms aren’t pleasant. They’re completely out of our control, and maybe that’s why they’re so uncomfortable — we have no control over what happens. There is no explanation for why a tornado devastates a certain town, or why lightning strikes, much in the same way it’s difficult to make sense of the metaphorical storms which plow their way through our lives, in events big and small, public and personal.
The one thing I do know is that after the storm, we can appreciate beauty much better than we could before the storm. Without darkness, it’s difficult to see the light. There is nothing that has more importance than the task of keeping our lights shining. For it is with the light we’ve kept burning that defines who we are despite the storms.