(It takes bravery and patience to be able to read when you cannot see.)

Joy is not Present in the Absence of Darkness

“We could never learn to be brave and patient if there were only joy in the world.” — Helen Keller

Our daily struggle consists of searching for moments of joy even when life seems most bleak. But what makes us who we are, what makes us most strong, is how we act in the moments where joy seems unattainable. Life is not about being in the light, it’s about what we do when we’re in the dark.

What makes you who you are is what you do in times of struggle. When everything feels against you, we need to remember that each hardship is actually working for us. Our character is etched by the cracks of calamity, not by our mere seconds of bliss. We need embrace the discomfort, the austerity that is part of our daily lives. It is how we deal with those difficult times that allows us to show others they too can be brave when adversity strikes.

Helen Keller did not impact the world because everything was easy for her, she did so in spite of all that appeared to make life so hard. It was her struggles that made her strong, it was her patience with life that allowed her to push on when others may have given up. We cannot change the deck of cards life as dealt us, but we can continue to shuffle and deal with whatever comes our way.

What allows us to be brave is knowing that we can overcome no matter what comes our way. We are continually provided opportunities to learn and grow from those around us. Life is not about living in a sequestered bubble, it’s about understanding that we all deal with the same conflicts. With that in mind, we need to use our trial and tribulations to help others deal with theirs.

We learn by doing, so in order to become brave and patient we need to face our problems head on, knowing that when we do so, we become more of the person we were meant to be. Our brushes with danger, our skirmishes with doubt, allow us to confront our fears, allow us to see joy when others may not.

It’s easy to be happy when everything is going our way. It’s easy to treat others well when we are effortlessly returning the favor. But life is not meant to be painless, it’s not meant to be straightforward or uncomplicated. We are shaped by the sands of heartache, by the times that we feel most alone. But we’re not; we’re never truly alone when we recognize that we are not the only ones at battle. It is the willingness to continue to fight that makes us courageous, that grants us the bravery necessary to make a difference in this world.

The most pitiful thing is self-pity, is in giving up when times get tough. Whereas the most noble thing that we can do when faced with catastrophe is show those around us that nothing will bring us down. We are brave not in spite of fear, but because of its presence. We are patient not because we never get frustrated, but because we are willing to stand firm when life gets tough.

Joy is not present in the absence of darkness, it is the light that is emitted when we overcome all that is dark.

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