Closing out the old year and beginning a new one is always lots of fun! We run non-stop from Thanksgiving until New Years Day (which I usually spend in my Pajamas locked in my house, bone tired). I usually spend some time that day looking back on all the things I have done in the year past and looking forward to the year to come which is a blank slate of possibilities. For an artist, this is similar to the excitement of a new sketch book, all white and empty ready to be filled with thoughts, dreams, plans, but also knowing that sometimes tears, anger or disappointment will fill some of the pages. The thing I have found over the years is that when the sketchbook is full and you look back, you see the beauty of it as a whole, including the darker pages which creates what we call “contrast.” See, you can’t really notice the “highlights” without the “lowlights.” I believe God set it up that way!
Almost everyone has seen the work of Thomas Kinkade, “the painter of light”, I’ll tell you a secret, all in the world he does is balance his lights and darks to draw your attention to the light! He does it masterfully! You could also do the opposite and call attention to the darkness. It is a balancing act to have both light and dark and not allow the darkness to take over. Our reflections on our year and on our Spiritual journey are the same exact way. We paint our lives in ways that draw attention to the Light of God or to the darkness of life’s journey. For some of us, the ability to look on the light side of life comes naturally but for others of us, it takes much energy, discipline and practice not to fall head first into the darkness. Which ever way you are wired, it takes practice and intentionality not to lean to far in the direction that is most natural for you. You have to feel the bad stuff in life, you can not live life fully without pain, but you can't live a life of nothing but pain either. So learn to acknowledge the darkness in life, but also learn to glorifiy God in those times in which peace passes all understanding, not being thankful FOR all things you have to go through but thanking God IN all situations you find yourself. As you learn to be aware of the balance of light and dark you will also find that you will glow with Light though the darkness.