Harmony of Light and Darkness

I dedicate this post to a spiritual friend who is striving to embrace the good and the bad of life, since they’re all parts of God’s perfect creation …you know who you are:

This post is about becoming more grateful for the little things in life (that we may easily take for granted) because we continue to have opportunities to experience the opposite of what we consider to be “good.” Therefore, rather than cursing the darkness, we learn to bring light onto the darkness. By embracing  both elements of the universe, we acknowledge that the existence of the so-called “bad” experiences helps us to become more appreciative for the “good” experiences. The following are some of my “darkness and light” experiences that I’d like to share with you that I believe has made me a more grateful person:

Appreciating Warmth and Comfort:

  • Darkness: While I was in the Army, at my first unit in Korea, we often went out on field exercises. The coldest night of my life was when we were up in the mountains, with a few feet of snow, and a barely functioning small heater for our big tent. It was so freezing that I even avoided using the porter potty for the longest time. I could feel what seemed like miniature icicles forming in my nostrils. As I laid on a hard cot, wearing my bear suit (winter gear) in my sleeping bag, I tried to imagine being somewhere else, although the fierce wind kept reminding me of my reality.
  • Light: Now, whenever I get under a warm blanket, as I lie on my cusiony bed and soft pillow, I thank God for the comforting moment, the peace and quite of the night, and for a home.
Appreciating A Sanitary Home:
  • Darkness: When I was in high school, my mother and I ended up living in a poor neighborhood after my parents separated again. Although my father made good money working for the government at the time, there wasn’t enough to go around because he was supporting his girlfriend and their new baby as well. Anyway, this house was one of my worst memories, but a useful one. Practically every night, I could hear the king-size roaches make their way out from their dungeons. Although we placed roach killers around the house and had Raid readily available, there were just too many of them. The owner of the house, who we were connected to, refused to fumigate the house claiming that they didn’t have the funds. One night, I couldn’t sleep, so I got up and turned on the lights. I figured I’d see a few, but when I saw dozens of them all over the wall next to my bed and all over the floor scattering away, I was terrified and disgusted. Once, out of desperation, I even sprayed Aqua Net hairspray onto this huge roach that seemed like it was glaring at me while I was getting ready for school. Another time, while my mother and I was eating dinner, a roach fell from the ceiling onto our table; I completely lost my appetite. It was like hell on earth. However, after a while, you just get used to it. Ever since I was in elementary school, I became a master of blocking things out, so that’s what I did to survive. Some nights, I could hear a roach or two flying over my head; yes! Some of them had wings! If it wasn’t for my mother’s OCD habits of cleaning until it’s spotless, we would’ve probably caught some disease or something.
  • Light: Ever since I moved out of that roach-infested house (after graduating from high school), I truly appreciated living at every other place that I ever lived at, even if there were a few bugs here and there. I do give credit to my mother for being very clean, because I learned to take care of my home by keeping things clean and not leaving food or trash around.
 
Appreciating Food:
  • Darkness: Growing up, there was no baking cookies or cakes, BBQing, home-made Thanksgiving/Christmas meals, helping my mother or father cook, and exploring different foods. Once, we were so poor that our meal was rice with chopped onions mixed with catsup; I actually remember it tasting good, probably because I liked catsup. There were even days where I had strong cravings for certain foods, but I learned real quick to just use my imagination, which became my best friend; I would pretend that I was eating my favorite foods and try to remember what they tasted and smelled like.
  • Light: Ever since I became an adult and lived on my own, one of my biggest passions in life is exploring foods from around the world. I also love cooking with my husband, as well as baked goods and BBQing. Most of the time, I savor my food to truly appreciate the combination of flavors, textures, and aromas. But most importantly, I like to ask God to share the wonderful eating experience with me, and thank Him for the nutritious and delicious food.
 
Appreciating A Shower:
  • Darkness: Whenever I visit my mother in Korea, either annually or every other year, I’m unable to take a normal shower since she only has a tub. So, I would have to fill up the tub with cold water and then mix it with some heated water. Then, I would take a plastic bowl of water and pour it over my head while doing the squat. Note: Some Korean bathrooms have a drainer on the floor of the bathroom. In a separate big bowl, I would wash my hair while bending down to the floor level. Note: Flexibility is key, as well as balance. The bottom line is…it’s a pain-in-the-rear when you’re used to the comfort of just stepping into a shower and lathering away without having to do yoga. Additionally, during the winter, it gets really cold…fast. I’ve had to take this type of shower many a time while I was growing up and visiting some of my Korean relatives who didn’t live in the city. Even when I was in the Army, during field exercises, there were times when we didn’t have access to any showers for weeks. During the humid summer months, it felt very unpleasant to just use baby wipes to clean ourselves…and we probably even reeked with unbearable funkiness.
  • Light: Now, whenever I take a shower, I not only thank God for the shower itself, but I also remind myself to just enjoy the moment, and I imagine that I’m at a spa: the warm water sprinkling over my face and body, the fresh scent of my favorite Rosemary Mint shampoo, the sweet aroma and delicate foam of my Cucumber Melon body wash, and the feel of all my muscles relaxing.
 
Appreciating A Car:
  • Darkness: When I was 18 years old (after graduating from high school), I found out that I had to drop out of the university that I was accepted to in California because my American father had informed me that he had to use my college account (that he had told me about since I was in elementary school) for his new life with his new wife. So, I dropped out and got a job as a secretary for this family owned business. Fortunately for me, I had worked during the summers since I was in ninth grade, and had built up some clerical skills. Anyway, I didn’t have a car at first, so I always walked to work, that was a few miles away. I didn’t mind so much because I considered it good exercise, but there were some cloudy days that I didn’t look forward to…literally and figuratively. There were some parts of the main road that didn’t have sidewalks, which made walking kind of awkward. Days of walking in heavy rain made the rest of the days very cold while sitting in the AC blasted office. I guess the most uncomfortable experiences were whenever I had to pass a certain area, I would get harassed by a bunch of guys hanging around. I always ignored them, which explains how I learned the lovely Spanish word, “puta,” which means…well, I guess you can look it up if you’re interested.
  • Light: When I finally got my first car, a 1982 Honda Prelude, I was ecstatic! Granted, it was the most ugliest, beat up car that I had ever seen, but I loved it so much that I even waxed it often with hopes that the faded gray paint would turn back to its original color, which was silver. Note: I wrote a post about it called, “A Big Brother’s Gift.” Ever since then, I loved and appreciated every car that I owned. I had my first new car when I was 35 years old, and I was in love with it! I always had used cars before, and never a sports car, so it was very exciting. It was a Rave red Mitsubishi Eclipse…absolutely gorgeous. Even the dashboard lights were neon blue. I often caught myself staring at it inside and out for long periods of time. Granted, I only had it for a couple of months, due to a car accident where it got totaled, but I enjoyed it while it lasted. Now, I have a lime green Mazda 2 (which I also love) that has great gas mileage, and every time I get into it, I thank God for having a nice car that I don’t have to constantly worry if it’s going to break down.

If you’d like to share some “Darkness and Light” experiences as well, please do so so that we can all grow from it!  🙂

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~ by Bobbie on June 29, 2012.

2 Responses to “Harmony of Light and Darkness”

  1. That is a quite a collection of stories Bobbie.you’ve really been through a lot. I often get so caught up in my own issues, that I can forget about how tough it can before others who se going through much worse than me. But you cannot see or appreciate the light without the dark. And as you say, gratitude changes everything.

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