Spiritually, a strong sense of self can create great comfort and composure amid disappointment and despair, one’s emotional and intellectual perspective reaffirmed by resilience and the courage of conviction. When this sense of self is insensitively undermined, it can leave us languishing in a shroud of dark, ominous clouds.
At the same time, grey, gloomy weather can also be depressing, and with my psyche pervaded by typical teenage angst, I wrote a poem about feeling enveloped by sombre clouds. It ended however, surprisingly positive: “The darkness comes and death is here and all is grey and sad, But look not down for morrow comes, And again all be glad”.
This optimism was unconscious, the words flowing freely and spontaneously. Their meaning has resonated in my conscious wakening throughout my life, despite not knowing why and how I entertained such cheerful sentiments.
Certainly, my childhood was imbued by Orthodox Judaism, the biblical recitation in Deuteronomy 31:6 echoing in my mind: “Be determined and confident…Your God, the Lord himself, will be with you. He will not fail or abandon you.”
Becoming agnostic in later adolescence, I reflected more on the importance of not failing or abandoning myself by maintaining a resolute self-belief for the future, as Philppians 3:13-14 proposes: “Forgetting what lies behind…I press on forward…”
Experiencing some failures traversing life’s twisting avenues, I occasionally succumbed to negativity, soon inspired by a far more enriching wisdom that “every cloud has a silver lining.”
The Monty Python 1979 movie “Life of Brian”, a religious and political satire highlighting the absurdity of life and banned in some countries as blasphemous, concludes hopefully with the song: “Always look on the bright side of life”.
Matthew 5:16 also encourages to…”let your light before others,” evoking the understanding that a bright persona might be more blessed than one of bleak pessimism.
Indeed, a recent British study revealed that believing in a silver lining can help sick people survive health threats, with moods a major factor in patients’ recovery as Proverbs 17:22 asserts: “A joyful heart is good medicine”.
English poet John Milton first referred to “a silver lining” in the poem “Comus: A Mask Presented at Ludlow Castle” in 1634: “…there does a sable cloud Turn forth her silver lining on the night And casts a gleam over this tufted grove…”
As winter now heralds heavy, grey clouds on the horizon, it seems pertinent to look for a silver lining in life itself as a wondrous gleam of faith we can all worship.