Someone I loved once gave me
a box full of darkness.
It took me years to understand
that this, too, was a gift.
- Mary Oliver, Thirst
Someone I loved gave it to me. The darkness was actually disillusionment,
disappointment, and despair. The box was full of meanness, lies, and deceit.
The first thing I did with this box was glorify it. I gave it pride of place in
my emotional world. I let it consume my thoughts, my heart, and my
mind. Every so often, when I was feeling at my most vulnerable, I opened
it up and peered into the darkness, where I would wail and cry in despair,
pitying myself for being dealt such a dark and horrible blow.
Time passed, and I found myself opening the dark box less often.
Sometimes, I was just too busy with other things to spend the time I knew the
darkness required. Other times, I simply didn’t have the energy to
deal with all those dark emotions. Eventually, I was just bored with the
dark box and it’s perpetual whining.
Then came the day that my thoughts drifted toward the darkness, and I
realized the dark box was no longer there. For a few frenzied moments,
my mind searched for it, but I simply could not conjure it up. A deep sigh of
relief welled within me, and I knew the darkness was gone for good. In
it’s place was a very quiet sense of understanding. peace, and
forgiveness, a sensation that I had never before known, but one I wanted
very much to store up and treasure.
At one time or another, life will hand each one of us a box full of
darkness. It’s important to keep that box around for a while – but not for
too long. Buried deep inside this box is a wealth of insight, compassion, and
self-awareness. When you dig deeply enough to reach this layer,
you’ve found the real buried treasure – the true gift that’s hidden in the darkness.