Komerobi is a Japanese word I recently came across which describes the sunlight that streams through the branches of a tree. Although I love the image – even more, I love what it symbolizes to me.
Light can only shine through the dark.
Sometimes life can feel like the spindly, spider-like branches of a tree; dark and dead. The branches encage our very being like arms gripping us. But the light shining through the cracks reminds us that there’s something more beyond the horizon.
I remember walking on the boardwalk beside the water a few years back. I was in the city so this was my place of serene solitude amidst the busy, chaotic streets. I got to the end of the boardwalk, and spanning the water was a big bridge. Peering under the arch of the bridge was the setting sun. I could see the fiery orange shining through. It captured my attention.
After developing anorexia, I suffered from a deep depression that made it difficult for me to function on a daily basis. It drastically impacted my sleeping, eating and ability to work. On that particular day, I was barely trudging.
If you’ve ever experienced depression, you know its dark doom. It’s like you are feeling too much and too little at the same time. You feel dead inside but not numb enough. Each breath is both a resignation and a triumph. The most difficult part is that it seems there’s no end in sight.
We’ve all been stuck on a car trip and had to go to the bathroom. It’s awful. Passing the blue information sign on the side of the road that says, “Rest Area, 6 Miles” becomes the most beautiful sign you’ve ever seen. Knowing the discomfort has an end makes waiting to go to the bathroom far more tolerable.
But depression feels like the complete opposite.
Not only is there no end in sight, but you don’t know if there ever will be.
Gray fog consumes you and follows you around.
Dreary. Drained. Despondent.
Seeing the light of the sun beyond the bridge that evening seemed to capture the picture of my life. There is more. Although it didn’t feel this way at the time, I told myself over and over, pain is temporary. Seasons of struggle rise and fall like the waves, but nothing lasts forever. As I stood awestruck at the boardwalk that night, this came to me:
“Inside this struggle there is light and hope.”
I’ve come to realize that hope is often found in unexpected places – such as the sunset that evening which seemed to be smiling at me. That glimpse of firelight was the message of komerobi for me. I took a few pictures as a reminder for the days to come when it seemed there’s no light to peer through the branches of my heart.
Some seasons of life are just hard. Sometimes these seasons last longer than we want them to. But perhaps the light of hope is not outside or beyond our struggle, but inside of it. It’s finding hope in the little – and easily overlooked – places that can uplift and awaken our weary and tired spirit. I like to call these instances “God moments” because I don’t believe they’re coincidental. They come just when we need it.
Dear reader, I understand it’s hard to keep your chin up when the weight of depression – or any burden – is pulling you down like gravity. It feels as though you’re walking with a twenty ton backpack on your shoulders through quicksand. With each step, you’re sucked further down into the vacuum. The world around you keeps going, but for you, each moment feels heavier.
In these darker moments, remember komerobi – the light dancing between the branches of the tree. Remember the sun peeking from around the corner of the bridge. Remember that where there are shadows light is near.
The sun will rise even in the rain. And so will you.
Check out my corresponding video here! Click here: Finding Hope