I think I have seen every episode of Friends at least a couple times. Some of them I’ve probably seen a dozen times – I especially love the Thanksgiving episodes and the ones from the season where the main characters have switched apartments.

One of my favorite Phoebe moments is in an early episode and it’s the one where Mr. Heckles dies. She senses that his spirit is still in the building, and she yells “Go into the light, Mr. Heckles!”

There are people who believe that when we die unexpectedly or with unresolved issues, our unsettled spirits wander until that business is settled – until maybe their loved ones are safe or they can pass along a message to those of us still here – and only then do those people pass over into the next life. I’m not sure what to think about that, other than to say that I think it’s possible there are ghosts.

But what I do believe with certainty is that those of us in the land of the living often choose to wander around in darkness. Darkness can be a toxic relationship, a job we don’t like, grief, addiction, anger. (Even the Old Testament Israelites wandered around in the desert for 40 years before entering their promised land.)

When bad or disappointing or unexpected things happen in our lives, we experience a time of emotional upheaval. And after we survive that initial upheaval, we make a choice – consciously or unconsciously – to wander around in the darkness or to get up and seek the light.

Googling “light” shows you a couple of basic definitions:

  1. the natural agent that stimulates sight and makes things visible,
  2. an understanding of a problem or mystery, or my favorite…
  3. something that makes vision possible.

Light requires action. We turn on a light or turn on our headlights. We light a fire. Or even, we arm ourselves and fight with a light saber.

The commonality is that light requires our action.

Light makes things possible. Light not only can give us hope, I realized recently that it actually kind of requires our hope first.

We will wander around in darkness until we decide to seek the light. And if we make no decision to seek it and take no action to seek it, the truth is we are stagnant in darkness.

We have to want and fight for the vision that is possible.

We have to be brave.

It takes bravery to hope in light, especially when we are surrounded by darkness. It takes bravery to seek light. It takes bravery to turn on light. And even, it takes bravery to fight with a light saber.

So today and every day I say to myself, to my girls, to anyone who’s wandering in a darkness or a wilderness in our land of the living: Go into the light, brave one.


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