Kindness Shines in the Darkness

There is a common misconception that good people shouldn’t have problems.

Goodness should protect people. It should ensure that nothing but good comes their way. Karma, the law of God, the balance of the universe, or whatever we want to call it, seems to say that whatever we put into the world will eventually come back to us. We then assume that those kind souls who shine light into the world should have nothing but light reflected back to them.

This isn’t true.

I use to be so confused. For many years, I thought I must be doing something wrong when things didn’t go so smoothly. What’s more, I would look with dumbfounded wonder at other kind souls who wanted nothing but to help others. I’d see them go through what could only be described as a kind of hell. But why? What did they do wrong? They seemed like such good people…

I have been kicked, bitten, stabbed, and beaten. I have been financially broke, cussed out, exhausted, and starved. Every time, it was because I was trying to help someone, and I cared more about that person than I did about my own immediate comfort. My problems didn’t happen because I was an unkind person causing trouble in the world. The reverse was true. My compassion compelled me to come alongside people who were hurting, and problems naturally followed. Still, I thought I was doing something wrong.

Experience has taught me not judge people by the darkness surrounding them, myself included. Circumstances alone cannot tell us someone’s whole story. Some of the most amazingly bright, compassionate souls face the darkest problems.

When we want to be the greatest blessing to others, so often that means leaving a life of our own comfort to walk in dark, difficult places. The reason is very simple: a flashlight is of no use in a brightly lit room.

Those of us who love light and beauty often leave our comfort zones to go work in the broken places of the world. We walk toward pain, death, disease, and despair, all because we want to bring what healing we can to others. And there is nothing wrong with that.

If you find yourself pressed on all sides and all you can see is darkness, please know you are not alone. You may even be doing something right.

Every messenger of God has had to endure hardship. The major figures at the heart of every world religion have leaned in towards danger, sickness, pain, and death. Jesus, for example, spent his life among the sick and corrupt. When people asked him why, he simply said it was because healthy people do not need a physician.

When God sends a light into the world, He does not send it into brightly lit rooms. If your heart’s desire is to be a light in this world, then don’t assume you’ve taken a wrong turn if you are surrounded by darkness. God directs His brightest lights into those places in greatest need of that light.

What hope I can offer is this. As stated in the Gospel of John, “The light shines in the darkness and the darkness has not overcome it.” Though all you can see around you may be darkness, a light shines through every heart that cares unselfishly for others. That light coming through you cannot be defeated. The darkness has tried to crush it again and again, and yet the darkness has never succeeded. Today, it will not succeed in crushing you. The light shines in the darkness all around you. Stay focused on that light. Through that light, you will overcome the darkness.

In the words of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, “Be calm, be strong, be grateful, and become a lamp full of light, that the darkness of sorrow be annihilated and that the sun of everlasting joy arise from the dawning-place of heart and soul, shining brightly.”

Peace be with you, and stay light my friends!

Audrey Cunningham


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