Dr. Suess wrote a fantastic book called “Oh The Places You’ll Go.” Maybe you’ve heard of it. Someone I love gave it to me when I was taking off on one of my own life adventures, and I think it’s wonderful for anyone on any type of adventure, whether that adventure is one into adulthood or Indonesia, kindergarten or the oncology ward. This book speaks, in the way that a book for children can, to what life is like.
Life’s not always easy, and this book doesn’t pretend it is, saying…
“You will come to a place where the streets are not marked.
Some windows are lighted. But mostly they’re darked.
A place you could sprain both your elbow and chin!
Do you dare to stay out? Do you dare to go in?
How much can you lose? How much can you win?”
And it goes on to talk about how confused and lost you can get, and how you can end up in the Waiting Place, where everyone is just waiting for something to change. But then it says,
That’s not for you!
Somehow you’ll escape
all that waiting and staying
You’ll find the bright places
where Boom Bands are playing.”
In the story, this is not the end of the hard times. Loneliness, loss, fear, and hopelessness are still to come before the book ends. But I think that’s how it should be. The bright places aren’t a happy ending. They’re sweet spots, of joy and redemption, that we can find to rest in between the hard times. Sparkles in the darkness. The key to happiness is in these bright places. If you think that to be happy, you need to find the end of your hard times, you will never be happy, because life is inherently hard, with suffering woven in from start to finish. So don’t wait for your problems to be over to be happy. Look for the bright places, and turn toward them, and let them light up your world. The happiness is in those bright places.