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The Value of Dark

The Value of Dark

Written by David Kellner

On August 21st, all of North America was treated to one of nature’s most awe-inspiring sights: a solar eclipse. If you were lucky enough to be in the path of totality, you may have been left as I was, awed to silence.

A total solar eclipse occurs when the disk of the moon appears to completely cover the sun. The science is mind-boggling when considering all the variables that must merge exactly. There are exceptions, but for the most part in any given location on Earth, a total eclipse happens only once every 100 years or so.

I traveled 7 hours to experience the total eclipse- an event that lasted about 2 minutes. We lay on a blanket that afternoon, played frisbee and intermittently put on our specialized glasses to watch as the shadow of the moon began to cover the sun.

As complete eclipse approached, a 360 degree horizon blurred and an eerie dusk settled over the midday landscape. Crickets and spring peepers prematurely began their evening chorus. Then a magnificent orange and pink glow radiated over the horizon panoramically, the sun seeming to set from all sides. And just as the disk of the moon obscured the last silver ray of sunlight, a glowing halo appeared from the darkness. It was a breathtaking explosion of light and pure wonder.

It lasted for just moments, but I will carry that indelible impression with me for the rest of my life.

When the sun was covered, its brilliant halo revealed a stillness, a quiet pure hush. My senses were temporarily peaked. I could sense, hear and see things that I never could outside of those circumstances. The sun had to be veiled before the glory of that moment could unfold. There was a value in the darkness.

As human beings we work hard to avoid the darkness. Think of your reaction to the lights dimming when you were a child. The uncertainty and fear that crept into your silenced mind. And even as adults we avoid the darkness of pain (physical or emotional), discomfort and annoyances. We are trained to preserve ourselves, and it is this attempt at preservation that causes us the most harm. For undiscovered beauty waits for us in the darkness.

When we are confronted with an unmet longing — a relationship that never fully formed, an acceptance never fulfilled, a value never assigned, a goal never met — we work to fill it. We bring false light into the darkness to ease the pain. We assure ourselves that if we just find the right thing, we can fill the hole and find contentment. But, the more we shove objects, ideas or people in the hole, the more dissatisfied we become.

We have to face the darkness, face the pain in order to discover wholeness and peace. We find our true selves in darkness. We unearth our courage, realize unexplored strength and build significant meaning in the dark. We become more than what we are when we face the dark.

Perhaps you are burdened by a depression, anxiety, strained relationship or a lack of meaning and purpose. While it is so natural to reach for the false light of just one more episode of our favorite show, an extra helping of a particularly comforting meal, or just a little longer in bed, I encourage you to face your darkness.

If we take an inventory of our internal world, name the truth no matter how dark, we give room for the light. We potentially unveil the beauty that resides in the darkness and find a true peace and meaning in that journey. Relationships become more full. Emotions are more fully and deeply expressed. Thoughts and dreams become more clear. Choices and made with more intention and value.


The steps into darkness are hard, but they are ever so worth it. I invite you to that journey…

Published: October 28, 2017