By Sister Pat Kenny

We live in dark times; not just the winter season, or a time of grieving and deep distress. This is a time when no matter what our scientific, religious or political persuasion, we find ourselves weighed down by the darkness of what we hear, see and feel around us.  Nature, once reliable and predictable, is behaving in ways we have never seen before. Our governments and churches, institutions we have trusted and relied upon, are letting us down and not gently. We are bombarded with florid rhetoric, fevered arguments, contradictions and assertions that prove untrue. Tragedies and catastrophes we never thought possible occur regularly. No wonder hope is hard to find.

Sunrise at Marian Woods in Hartsdale, New York
Sunrise at Marian Woods in Hartsdale, New York

The French Algerian philosopher, author and journalist Albert Camus once wrote, “In the depth of winter, I finally learned that within me lay an invincible summer.” It was December when I first read that quote. My father had just died, the last member of my immediate family. The tasks I was faced with: planning another funeral, selling a home, disposing of a half-century of family treasures, acknowledging piles of condolences – alone – seemed impossible. Camus’ words touched me profoundly but I too found them to be true.

I stop by an east-facing window at Marian Woods some winter mornings and catch my breath. The glow from just below the horizon behind the sharp black tracery of the trees is a homily without words. Trees, like skeletons at this time of year, stripped of their fine greenery, cannot hide the injuries that have shaped them.  Branches twisted in odd angles, bent by icy fingers and unrelenting winds, stand naked but unashamed. Firmly rooted, they have stood through it all. If they had voices, what might they say to me?

The sun, more faithful even than the moon or stars, rises again, in spite of what, a few moments before, seemed like unrelenting darkness. It highlights the very objects time and the elements have battered and proves to me once again that all will be well.  Another day has begun, another chance to get it right, to try again and to believe against all odds that hope is real.

Little Annie, in the musical by her name, had it right when she warbled, “Tomorrow, tomorrow, I love you, tomorrow, you’re only a day away.”

For more great reflections like this, be sure to subscribe to our blog.