Life is truly a journey–a journey filled with episodes that can cause spontaneous eruptions of joy or ignite emotions that fan the flames of dormant feelings of misery. This is the nature of the journey. There are mountaintop moments that we privately wish would never end, and then there are valley visitations that feel like eternal anguish.

It is the ebb and flow of life, the wonder and the riddles, the beauty and blight that perplex us. In our secret and sacred longings, we yearn for the sun to never stop shining and wished that we had the power to forbid the dark from being born, but that would mean that life would only be half lived. For the journey is perplexing and at times it is confounding beyond measure, but it still has the capacity to yield beautiful fruit.

It is for this reason that we should not seek to avoid the dark times that may come, because all of life, the good and the bad, has the potential to birth possibilities that can never be imagined in a half-lived life.

To be honest, there have been many times along my journey in which I wanted blissful moments to be unceasing. I did not want the joy I felt in those interludes to come to an end. Subsequently, and tragically, I found myself holding on to moments that became exhausted of true value and meaning in my life. I wanted so badly to linger in the ecstasy of bright moments that had already passed that I missed the opportunities that may have been waiting in the next episode of my journey.

The humbling reality is that the next episode may be shaped by the dark times that one seeks to avoid, but that same darkness can also bring forth new life.

In the Hebrew Scriptures, the book of Genesis begins with the story of creation. The story indicates that the world was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep. It was out of that darkness that God began to move and create. Imagine that for a moment and, as one of my mentors would say, let that thought marinate in your spirit.

The book of Genesis suggests that darkness was the context out of which creation began. Darkness was not the enemy! Like the womb that bears the gift until the day of delivery, darkness was that out of which new life was birthed. The idea that God creates in the dark and out of the darkness gives a new way of appropriating the dark times that may come along life’s mystifying journey. Instead of avoiding the dark times and risk living a half-lived life, maybe one of the main tasks along the journey is to learn to embrace the dark times.

I am not suggesting that one go looking for dark moments or try to create them, but I am suggesting that in avoiding the darkness, an opportunity for growth and new life may be missed.

Do not simply retreat and surrender in the face of the challenging times that will come along your journey. Resolve in your spirit that when the unavoidable and painful realities of living manifest themselves in your life, that you will view those moments as an opportunity to create in the dark.