There are times when the darkness surrounding me seems all too much. When I dare to watch or read the news I become more than convinced that we are going to hell in a hand basket complete with rocket boosters. As far as the media and, it appears, the majority opinion is concerned, it is completely hopeless. Couple that with all the apocalyptic movies, the sensationalism of Mayan 2012 and of course let us not forget the zombie apocalypse, I am not sure why we all aren't curled up in a fetal position in the corner rocking frantically waiting for the end to finish us.
I think of darkness. Dark moonless nights. Late nights in Maine where there is no ambient light and the copious stars in the sky give me a feeling of being swallowed up completely. Even there, when the porch light is out, it is not utterly dark.
I think of myself. When the dark cloud of despair covers me like a heavy, uncomfortable blanket threatening to suffocate me between my sobs. Even then, when all seems lost, it is not utterly dark.
Because all is not as it seems. The lies around us, although overwhelming and even at times debilitating, are just that, lies. Lies of the media. Lies of sensationalism. Lies that we even tell ourselves. I am not saying that the darkness doesn't exist, of course it does. But it is most certainly not as bad as the lies we seem all too eager to embrace. Even the darkness that dwells within each one of us is most assuredly not as bleak as we berate ourselves for.
How can I be so sure?
Enter Chanukah. Each night we add one more candle. Each night gradually bringing more light into the world. Gently, gradually and quietly we begin to dispel the darkness. All that from one single candle and voila, the darkness is no more. Small and little. Seems to be a recurring theme in Chanukah. Small Maccabee army defeating the great Greek army complete with elephants. One small jar of oil lasting eight days. One little light lighting all eight candles. One small and little light.
As I sit with my menorah and gaze at it's beauty, the warmth of it's light instills me with the reminder that all is never as it seems, particularly if what seems is permeated with darkness. The light within me, however small at times it may be, is still a light and that small light is all it takes to dispel the darkness.
This little light of mine, I'm gonna let it shine.