You know how when you’re a little kid, the dark corners of your room can seem really scary? Those spots under your bed, that shadow the door leaves on your floor, that little nook in the wall near your closet – they all seem like great places for monsters and bogey men. After a lot of sleepless nights, your mom and dad probably caved in and got you a tiny little night light. Now, most nightlights are pretty darned small and the light they generate is not really overwhelmingly life-altering, but somehow, it’s enough. We feel like our concerns have been addressed, we feel like someone cares, and hey, that little nightlight does lighten up those super dark spots a little bit. At least it gets easier to tell that there aren’t monsters hiding in your room, right?
When a person is going through a really hard time, their every day existence can seem like that dark room from your childhood. Every corner seems to have another new obstacle to face. Every shadow seems to be an omen of more bad things ahead. Efforts may be made to open the blinds to let any light in, but the moon isn’t out and it’s pitch black everywhere. It seems for this person like there is no way things can get any lighter, and the people who keep reminding them that morning is just around the corner just don’t seem to get it.
When you see a friend or a loved one going through times like these, there is one little thing you can do that can be more powerful than any “Chicken Soup for the Soul” book.
You can give them that nightlight otherwise known as hope.
Hope is kind of an overused word and it sounds a lot more glamorous, perhaps, than it really is sometimes. Just like nightlights, sometimes hope can be delivered in the tiniest of packages, and you may not think it’s enough to make any kind of difference. But there is the actual hope you are giving someone and then there is the fact that you stopped to help. That makes the light shine brighter.
Hope can come in all kinds of forms. For children who are living on the streets who may not have hope for a better future, hope can be a new home, help with school, and a good breakfast. For a person being bullied all of the time, hope can arrive in the form of a kind and caring word. For a person with economic problems or health problems, new solutions, or even the possibility of new solutions, can be how hope shows itself.
Hope may not be enough to solve a person’s problems. It might not even be enough to make them feel better for very long. But hope has a way, just like a nightlight, of evening out those extra dark spots so you don’t have to spend energy worrying about those lurking monsters. Offering a person a little light when they are surrounded by the deepest darkest night can be a little reminder that people are out there pulling for them.
Have you gone out of your way to offer someone who seemed to be without hope a little boost? Have you spent some time thinking about ways a person could attack his or her problems? Have you considered one small thing we could do to help someone feel a little lighter and a little more loved? It’s free, and in fact it’s priceless. But oh the value your time and energy will carry for that person grasping in the dark and cowering from monsters.
It’s worth a shot, isn’t it?
Image by Christie Thomas. http://www.sxc.hu/profile/cnw