Somewhere in the past I read that it is always darkest before the dawn. I don’t know if that is scientifically true or just a feel-good axiom, but in fact, I have found it to be always, always true in real life. Our lives have ups and downs. Sometimes the downs are bigger and seem unmanageable. At those times, as trite as it is, it can help to hang onto the idea that things will get better.
Most people have moments that they can remember, recently or more distantly, where they are faced with a true sense of sinking into despair. Everything looks hopeless, and it’s difficult to see how it could get better. There is a pull to give in to a feeling of giving up. It varies what people do at those times and how long that feeling lasts. At those times, they don’t even want to do the little things that make them feel better. It seems pointless and inadequate.
But there is a type of certainty and it is this: Everything, and everyone, is always changing. Nothing stays the same for long. That is both a good thing and a bad thing. The beautiful moments won’t last forever–and that is why we need to savor them–and the terrible moments won’t last forever–and that is why we need to withstand them. Obvious, I know. But when we are in the midst of them, we cannot imagine anything else.
The universe is infused with being alive. Living energy organizes inert matter into living organisms that have motion, purpose, expression, and time-connection. In living things the cycle of being alive moves through its course. That is the time-connection. And that is why everything changes. Because we are embedded in a developmental process from beginning to end: physically, socially, psychologically. Looking back at events in our lives we can sometimes make more sense of them, or at least understand how they have shaped us.
But we cannot make sense of the moment we are in. We can only live it. We can be curious about how this particular moment will resolve itself. It will partly be a result of what we do, but not only that. The continual movement of people, things, and time will change what things mean and how they impact us. So in moments of discouragement, sometimes all we can do is remember that it is always darkest before the dawn.