The other night I was at a Dougie MacLean gig - he's a Scottish singer/songwriter probably best known for writing the song "Caledonia" - which somehow manages to make you feel homesick even when you're home is in Caledonia!
Before performing one of his songs he explained it had been written following a visit to see his father in a hospice. He spoke very lovingly of his father, and explained that he had found conversation with him as he was dying very difficult. On this occasion he decided to ask his fathers advice on caring for a gladioli plant he'd been given, his fathers response, Dougie felt was very poignant and related not only to the plant but to life.
"The plant's not thriving Dad!" he said, "What should I be doing?"
"Turn the plant to the sun, just keep turning it - keep it in the sun!"
As Dougie got ready to sing the song he said, "Nothing thrives in darkness."
We can withdraw like wounded animals when we feel emotionally beaten, crawling into our caves and hiding away. Shutting the curtains on the outside world we can convince ourselves, that the pain will go away if we just don't see or interact with anyone or anything.
To me turning towards my "sun" has meant leaning on friends, sharing my deepest fears and sadness with them. By doing this they have helped illuminate the darkest corners of my heart - letting me see that despite the awfulness of what has happened in the past there is nothing to gain and everything to lose by staying with the darkness.
"Turn your face to the sun and the shadows fall behind you." - Maori proverb