Last week, I got up at 5am to drive both my son and husband to the airport. The morning was still filled with pitch-black darkness and by the time we got to the airport, we had already witnessed the crack of dawn. My eyes were met with an absolutely spectacular sight. Now, you’ve probably witnessed many sunrises yourself and marveled in awe at the splendid colors, the softness of its embrace and how it signals something much deeper for you, but I believe that each and every sunrise can teach us something entirely different if we’re willing to pay attention.

Like a beam of light infiltrating the darkest room, this time the sunrise filled my heart with the warm and inviting teachings of hope.

It took about one and a half hours for the sun to gradually emerge. First, there was just a tiny bit of light which started to beam through the clouds, but the sky was still pretty much gray and foggy. This made me so excited and the adrenaline started flowing, as I waited patiently for the crack of dawn. The world was brought alive again and my eyes slowly adjusted to the brightness of the day. This all eventually led to sunrise. By now, the sky had started to look a lot brighter and was starting to take color. Magnificent hues and shades of orange, yellow and red were effortlessly painted over the grayness, with a perfection that could never be attributed to the human hand.  Every corner was now filled with light again. The trees could be witnessed in all their splendor. Sight had been given to the crisp coldness of the morning and the birds signaled the start of a new day, their chirps excited and inviting.

Hope replaced the darkness and it truly got me thinking that when the sun comes up each and every morning, we tend to so easily forget that there was once darkness. We forget about the transition, how the night enveloped us and just how quickly hope can come knocking on our doors again. Suddenly, we find ourselves in the rat race of our daily routines all over again – sticking to schedule and making sure that we show up for school drop-offs, work and breakfast on time.

‘Time’ should never be taken for granted. Time teaches us the softness and pace of the various transitions we each face in life. It invites us to practice deeper and more enduring patience in our own lives. It forces us to search for the gifts which darkness brings with her, to pay attention to the magical creatures of the night which now show their faces and to learn to love and appreciate the moon. We are invited to look up at the blanket of stars encrusted in the fabric of the sky and appreciate the beauties of darkness and stillness, all while the world is still asleep. This transition from darkness to light is what I believe to be true about gratitude too – that once we have hope and feel the light of day again, it’s important to still remember our darker periods of life. It’s important that we never forget the gifts which midnight offered us and how we had to practice greater patience and adjust the sight of both our minds and heart, while we waited gently for sunrise to invite us in again. This may be true for you too. You may have been through long periods of darkness and forgotten the hope of light, or you may currently find yourself in the light right now.

The most important question is: How do we still maintain hope for the light when it’s dark and how do we still remain grateful for the darkness when it’s light?

Life has certainly taught me that we each transition through various peaks of both light and darkness and that it’s important that we don’t attach ourselves too strongly to either state. We often hear of the ‘seven years of abundance and seven years of famine,’ which I believe can also be used as an example that both darkness and light come at different periods for each and every one of us in our lives. Sometimes, our ‘seven years of famine’ may take the form of a single day, a month or a decade of pain and struggle, while at other times, we may find ourselves in our ‘seven years of abundance.’ It’s so crucial for us to remember while in the pit of darkness, to be hopeful for the light again and while in the grace of light, to be grateful for both the patience with which the darkness was endured with, as well as the gift of light again.

This is true gratitude. Gratitude is not the absence of hardship and darkness. It is both the acceptance, surrender to and trust that both the darkness and light are meant to serve us and that the only way through is to swim in its depths and be grateful for the gifts we may find in each period of transition, instead of drowning in either state and believing it to be forever permanent.

Are you currently in your darkness or do you find yourself surrounded by light? Either way, be sure to take a few moments each day to remain still and listen to what either state has to tell you. I can guarantee you that even if you’re in darkness, there are gifts to be gained, hope to be had and patience to be developed and that if you find yourself in the light, there is gratitude to be practiced, serenity to be experienced and softness to be felt.

When we’re in full light, we tend to forget how hard the darkness once was and what to be grateful for during the light. It’s so easy to get used to the light, but we often feel grateful only when it starts to dim! So let’s not wait for the light to leave before we choose to practice gratitude.

Let’s live in gratitude now.

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