One of my favorite activities over the past few years has been my early morning runs on the Ahnapee Trail. In the summer months, I have the pleasure of watching the sun come up as I enjoy the sights and sounds of nature while trying to stave off the encroachment of age. In the winter months, however, these runs are conducted prior to sunrise. Many people have asked, “How can you run in the dark?” so I have given it some thought and applied it to our own ability to navigate during the darkness of spirit that each of us encounter from time to time in our own journey of life.
Each of us sets a course for our lives. We do our best to stay on the right path, and for the most part, this is an easy effort as the path is well-defined and recognized. There are times, however, when darkness overcomes our journey. This is much like when I leave the illumination of the street lights and homes and continue on in what appears to be the total darkness of the trail. But here’s the cool part. As you enter into darkness, your vision adjusts, and suddenly, you can see the path before you. In our lives, we would call this perspective. While in what appears to be darkness, our minds draw from the illumination provided by gratitude, optimism, and hope, keeping us on our chosen path. We draw inspiration from those in our lives to persevere through the darkness until we have traversed it and find ourselves once again in a place of light.
A few weeks ago, my wife Jackie accompanied me on one of these early dark trail runs, and she said something very powerful. As we looked up at the stars along our darkened path, she commented how those amazing stars are always there, but we only see them when it is dark. She couldn’t have been more right, and I immediately thought of all the stars in my life that I take for granted, including her.
For many, the winter months, especially the holiday season, can be one of struggle and darkness. It is important to recognize and call upon those stars in our lives to help get us through. In addition, we all need to know that we all can be a star in someone else’s journey and to know the power of a positive word or a smile each and every day.
For those who have had darkness on their journey, reflect upon the stars in your life that supported and encouraged you. Take the time to thank them and let them know their value. For those currently going through darkness, allow yourself to re-focus from the darkness to those stars that are in your life, ready to assist you in your journey. To all of us, don’t underestimate your ability to be someone else’s star.