GraceNotes: Holding the Space for … Reflection

#91 — November 1, 2019

Some people grumble that roses have thorns; I am grateful that thorns have roses.

— Jean-Baptiste Alphonse Karr

Greetings, Inspired Seekers!

When was the last time you gave thanks? It seems an appropriate and meaningful question to ask during this month where we celebrate Thanksgiving and all things bountiful. Perhaps you recently received some good news …a new job, the birth of a child, healing for you or a loved one… the possibilities of joyous thanks surround us.

But what of those other thank-yous? You know, the ones that come during a time of difficulty or despair? How challenging or how easy is it to be thankful in times of darkness? I often struggle at those times and I don't think I am alone in that. It is not easy to be thankful for pain.

And yet, many traditions proffer that those dark nights of the soul are sources of great resurrection and rebirth and should we not be thankful for them? After all, in the darkness of the winter nature revives itself and builds its root system. The Native American people know these seasons and honor them; the bleak winter months are holy. The Tao teaches the yin and yang of life and mystics of all traditions know that the space between the light and darkness is the space of powerful transformation.

It seems to me that at this time of abundance, in the twilight that fades to black, we must trust that growth thrives. We must know, in our very being, that the light only shines because we know the dark, and that faith and grace fill both spaces with love. That love in the darkness transforms us, reshapes us and provides us with answers that cannot be found while basking in the light of joy. Sometimes, the emptiness is very full.

So at this time of year as we gather with friends and family around tables filled with fullness and light, stay awhile when the candles are extinguished, the room is quiet and stillness fills the darkness. Pause, reflect, give thanks for it all. And, when the light returns, give thanks for the awakening.

Grace-Fully Yours,
Reverend Deborah

Monthly Affirmation: I give thanks for the light and the dark, for they both hold the truth.

The Reverend Dr. Deborah Darlington spends time in the shadows with those seeking spiritual growth. For Spiritual Direction or celebrating sacred rites of passage, she can be reached at 215 260 1611 or at