Christmas lights make my heart happy.
Seriously, I almost had an "excitement attack" (similar to a panic attack, but not technically diagnosable…yet.) when I walked into work earlier this week to see that my coworker had lights above his door. There maaaay have been some mild hyperventilating on my end. I love Christmas lights so much that I keep white lights in my office all. year. long. Most recently, I went outside at night in below freezing temperatures to stare at my Christmas tree through the window of my house… because the only reason I have ever wanted to live near a road is simply because I want someone to see Christmas lights through my window so that they can smile as they drive by.
Basically, I'm living the dream, people!
I have wondered why lights bring such joy to my heart, other than all the Christmas season-related reasons... and I realized a few things in my wondering.
For almost 5 years now, I have been a therapist. I sit in an office and listen as people pour out their soul pain to me, a person they hardly know. I watch as all the broken pieces are laid out in the open...vulnerability and courage at its finest. And I am struck by all of my broken pieces that are filling up our sacred space of therapy, too. We are all walking wounded in some way, and so much of the sacredness of therapy and life is walking alongside one another in that woundedness.
As I have gone through this long process of learning what it means to be a therapist, I am struck most by how this means I have to learn how to be myself, much like the brave souls I sit with every day. To really walk in dark places with people, I have to see my broken pieces and look for the light shining through all the cracks. Most of the time, this means that in order to be fully seen and known and loved, I have to stand in the dark, open up the curtains of my pain and fear, and let the people near me see the light coming from inside… even if it means that when they see the light, they will see the broken pieces too.
I realize I have so much yet to learn in life. Yet, I can say this with full confidence: the light helps find joy in the midst of pain. It leads to redemption and grace and healing, even when we are still broken. And being vulnerable in that brokenness can help us find the light more easily.
It’s so easy to hide our hurts and shattered selves behind curtains made of scars. But, it is almost impossible to look at our brokenness with grace and love without having someone else enter into that sacred pain with us; someone who can look at the light shining through all our cracks from the outside. And to let that happen, we have to open up the curtain.
When that curtain is opened… the beauty is fully seen… the beauty of lights that can ground us in the present moment with a glimpse of joy and hope, even in darkness.
And every time I see someone's Christmas tree as I drive by, I forget the weariness and pain of whatever circumstances I may be in, and I find joy, even if it's for only a few moments. And that joy gives me hope.