Probably the most often asked question my clients ask of me is this:

Why is life so hard?

A few weeks ago I heard the question so often that I decided to take a poll.

I first asked my eleven-year-old, only to be told this. “Well mom, it just is. Of course it would be easier if I had an IPhone4.”

I asked my oldest son, who replied, “It’s not always hard, mom, except when you’re broke.”

My girlfriends pretty much said they have no idea, although men can sometimes make it worse and jewelry, better, while my men friends suggested women as the root of the disasters and toys, especially in the form of Porches or Camaros, as improvements worth noting. Jokes aside, life often does seem dark rather than light and the brightest of lamps can sometimes flicker, leaving you with smoke and mirrors.

Having spent the month reflecting, the answer I can now give might open Pandora’s box to more rather than fewer questions, but it is this.

Life, Choices and Reflections

We walk this earth to own the dark as well the light.

I think of the one time I took fencing in college. The instructor was masked and armored, I, not so much so. As he explained, I was the least trained. If anyone were to get pricked, it would be he. He then worked me until I dropped, a motionless ball of Jello.

I asked why he pushed me so hard, as I’d never done this before, and he said that I had to learn that the “enemy” was not one. That which we fight is usually just a worthy opponent. In the course of the interchange, one’s sword arm develops, but so does one’s ability to shield and dance, move and shift.

I don’t believe for one moment the true blackness of this planet is “supposed” to be here. Perhaps, as it is said in spiritual circles, we select our parents before birth. We do not, however, desire that they would be abused as children so that in turn, become abusive to us. If there are choices, it is so we learn how to treat each other with love and care, no matter the circumstances.

There are different climates on this country and because of this, crops that grow in far-flung places. This is not so that the people of one area can starve, so another can thrive. It is so we learn to hold hands, form a distribution line, and send food and compassion from heart to heart and country to country.

The Balance of Light and Dark

To own the dark — to recognize the hardships and the suffering — is to become a light within it. We can’t always see the light around us, nor perceive the light that we are. Sometimes we are looking ahead and the light shines on the side. Sometimes we’re at the bottom of a well or the thick of a tunnel and the light is hidden from sight. But sometimes our eyes are closed and we’ve only to open them.

Just for today, I am promising to open my eyes and my heart. I vow to see the light that is around and within all others and to share the light that I am. Perhaps this will make it easier for me to own the darkness and know that it is being restored to the place of grace it really is.