February can be a harsh month. For me personally, this February more so than most years. February has never been a particularly good friend in the best of times, but if there is ever a setback in February, there is seldom much kindness to be found. Outside, it is cold and icy. Inside, the rooms are dark and always seem to be a little smaller than normal.
If you get sick, or fall on your face and skid into headlong traffic in any other month, there is usually some scrap of good news to hold onto and use as a bandage until the Advil kicks in. (With the possible exception of January, because you-know-who is looking for a parking spot in the snow and will soon be banging on the door.) Get injured in February, however, and you’re pretty much on your own… or so it appears.
In hindsight, it is always the darkest times that prove to be the most enlightening. However, knowing that the sun will shine again does not help one to see whilst still sitting in the dark.
In the midst of this darkest month, I’d like to share with you two passages that always get me through these cold weeks. The first is from Theodore Roosevelt. The second passage is more often quoted than Roosevelt’s but, unfortunately, the author is less famous. Her name is Marianne Williamson.
“It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood, who strives valiantly; who errs and comes short again and again; because there is not effort without error and shortcomings; but who does actually strive to do the deed; who knows the great enthusiasm, the great devotion, who spends himself in a worthy cause, who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement and who at the worst, if he fails, at least he fails while daring greatly. So that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who know neither victory nor defeat.”
~ Theodore Roosevelt
“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us.’ We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There’s nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It’s not just in some of us; it’s in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we’re liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.”
~ Marianne Williamson
See? It’s getting lighter already.