WE are all so used to flipping a switch to turn on the lights, even during daytime in our offices, that many of us may not know what it is like to live in a world without lights.
The world today is polluted with so much artificial lighting that there are very few places left on earth where you can truly appreciate the night sky.
Well, if you have the means and a real sense of adventure, you might want to head to the San Pedro de Atacama region of northern Chile which is reputed to be one of the prettiest and most desolate places on the planet, with the clearest and darkest sky on Earth.
Here in Malaysia, you will need to travel far out into the hinterland, or to the many remote islands, to truly appreciate the stars above.
It is amazing what light can do in the midst of darkness. If there is a power blackout in a restaurant, for example, the person with a lighter or torchlight becomes an instant hero.
There are times when we feel trapped in darkness, metaphorically speaking. And so we yearn to see the light at the end of our tunnel of despair.
It could be one’s journey with a medical condition, a problem at work, a relationship in need of serious repair, or even the state of the nation.
And so we wait anxiously for that light to make our world come alive again. Sometimes it does, sometimes it doesn’t.
Worse, sometimes the light at the end of the tunnel may turn out to be another train heading in the wrong direction.
I remember the fishing trips I used to make with my father at the end of a sewage bridge off Jelutong in Penang.
In the still of the night, the most reassuring item with us was the kerosene lamp.
My father would always tell me not to light it up until it was really dark, so as not to use up the kerosene too fast.
I learnt how to do things in the dark, like attaching the live worms to the hooks without pricking my fingers.
Waiting for the fish to bite gives ample time for useful lessons to be passed on from father to son.
Papa told me not to be overly dependent on the familiar, because life can be pretty unpredictable.
The real challenge is how to deal with circumstances that you least expect, some temporary, and some permanent.
Sometimes, it may be a major life-changing situation that turns our world upside down.
How does one prepare for the unexpected? One way is by not overreacting to the occasional “blackouts” in our life.
If there is a power failure, don’t curse the darkness, even it happens in the middle of your favourite TV series. Seize the opportunity to go outside and chat with your neighbours.
If there is a work issue involving difficult colleagues that drags you down, tell yourself that this too shall pass.
I have been struggling with a number of inconveniences recently.
There are times when I feel like giving up because I do not seem to be able to see the light at the end of the tunnel.
But those moments pass when I remind myself that it is possible to get through even the darkest night when one has the light of hope shining within.
You see, it is in the darkest of places, like the Atacama, that the stars shine brightest.
This executive editor wishes all Christian readers a Blessed Christmas with a reminder that this is the season not only for giving, but forgiving. Soo Ewe Jin The STAR Sunday Starters Sunday December 21, 2014 MYT 7:09:32 AM