“I’m so Happy.” A Nine-Year-Old’s Insights on Lightness and Darkness

In this season of frantic “preparations” and “so much to do” and “I’ve got just one more final and three papers and I’m done!” this blog is not only short and to the point, it also is intended to give us all a reason to pause and feel deep gladness.

The thoughts here are inspired by my daughter’s fleeting expression last Sunday. Just moments after she plunked down in the church pew, leaned on my shoulder and sighed with a huge grin on her face, she innocently uttered: “I’m so happy.”

Why? I’m guessing it’s because she had just successfully completed her first “confession.” She and her 4th grade compadres had said, out loud yet in confidence, what they would like to do better in their lives, relationships and/or world.

In the afterglow of her revelation she was – purely and completely, visibly and verbally – lighter. At that moment she had, unknowingly, become wiser to the reason for the season upon us. During these short days, long dark nights and much waiting for and anticipating of what is to come (Christmas! A New Year! January Term!), her happiness was born from a simple shedding of light on darkness. Of lightening her tiny psychological load. Of being hopeful about what is possible.

She was, with her brilliant smile, reminding me (maybe you, too?) of the very purpose of light. From the Latin word lucére, to light is “to shine” or “to reveal.” When we are open to being vulnerable, we are open to greater peace both in ourselves, and in others.

May you, in the upcoming days and weeks of merriment, both embrace the dark and the light.

Merry Christmas.