I was driving to a friend's house over the weekend. It's late November in New England, so most of the trees have given up their leaves, and the ones that remain on the branches are a dried-out brown. It was overcast, and I was coming down a back road, singing along with the radio (as usual) and thinking about what you think about when you've been in the car for a while. You know how it is -- part of your brain is all about the driving, the mechanics of it, and part of your brain is keeping up with the radio, and the rest of your brain is with your family, maybe, or at the grocery store, debating the merits of gruyere vs fontina cheese, or at work, dealing with a project.
In my case, my brain was thinking about people I know who are struggling. This time of year can be so joyful and, at the same time, so painful -- and sometimes, the pain is made worse by the fact that the holidays are SUPPOSED to be joyful, so there can be extra pressure to smile and be happy when all you want to do is curl up under a blanket in a dark room and cry for six or seven days -- and pressure isn't what someone who is struggling really needs, usually. Sometimes what someone who is struggling really needs is a clean pile of blankets and someone to stand by and pass them tissues and, when they're ready, to turn on the light.
As I thought that -- and I'm not kidding -- the sunlight pierced through the clouds and filtered through the trees with this amazing orangey glow.
Everyone just needs a little light, I thought. We all just need a little light. My heart -- which is sometimes a little sad and tired, but which persists in being a hopeful little beast -- needs some at this time of year, when sometimes I forget to be glad for what I have. The hearts of some of my friends -- who are ending relationships, or who have lost loved ones, or who are dealing with illness and fear -- they could use a little light. Not a flood of sunlight, mind you. Not a full on noontime glare -- they're not ready for that. They just need a glimmer here and there, to remind them that when they're ready, they can step back outside, where there are people who love them, and warmth, and help if they want it.
That burst of sunlight only lasted for a moment. But it was enough.
Sometimes just a glimmer here and there is enough.