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.