Light and dark and the idea of hope

The world seems like a very dark place at the moment. A short while ago, when I heard about the UK government’s decision to take military action in Syria I felt overwhelmed by the prospect of conflict and thought about all the fellow humans who would be directly affected (and hurt) by this. I spent many of my walks around the neighbourhood feeling low and contemplating why humans keep repeating this kind of aggressive behaviour.

I find that when there is much darkness without, I often feel the darkness within me crowding out positive and joyful thoughts and feelings. Everything seems worthless, I feel worthless and everything I do seems worthless.

A huge part of my life is centred around books and I very much believe in the power of words, but I also cannot ignore the fact that so many wise, creative people have written over and over again about the idiocy of aggression and how we must cooperate with each other and respect our environment if we are to live in a peaceful and bountiful world. The message is out there, it is forever being beamed out there, but is it being picked up? Is it heard? Is it being listened to?

When the world seems like a dark place, I think no. The message is being ignored, and willfully so, and even the thought of hope – hope that one day us greedy, stupid humans will stop killing each other and destroying our planet – seems an impossibility.

It is then that I must simply hold on to the idea of hope. To hold on to the idea that even if the messages keep getting ignored, a place where people aren’t sending out those messages is even worse.

Slowly, very slowly, I came to the realization that this, for me, would simply have to be enough. The dedication of a life to putting messages of light, empathy and the value of clear communication out there is enough, and importantly, worthwhile.

And as I came to this realization, books, the process of creativity and my loved ones helped me to remember joy and the light there is in life, although for it to exist and be appreciated, there has to be some darkness, whether it be without or within.

A simple trip to the library with my son to pick up some children’s Christmas books was joyful.

Christmas books, photo by Marija Smits
Christmas books, photo by Marija Smits


Finding escape and enjoyment – sheer bliss, in fact! – through reading one of my friend’s books was joyful.

Pride and Regicide, by Cathy Bryant
Pride and Regicide, by Cathy Bryant


Finding words of kindness and empathy in Matt Haig’s book was a comforting.

Reasons to Stay Alive by Matt Haig
Reasons to Stay Alive by Matt Haig


Finding some sweet-smelling hyacinths in a dark box in the garage and bringing them out into the light made my heart glad.

Hyacinths, photo by Marija Smits
Hyacinths, photo by Marija Smits


Reading some poignant and beautiful poems in this charity anthology – many by poets I have the pleasure of knowing and being friends with – also made my heart glad.

Over Land, Over Sea book
Over Land, Over Sea book


Painting and creating some new art (some of it with and alongside my daughter) was joyful.

Painted glass and stones, photo by Marija Smits
Painted glass and stones, photo by Marija Smits


And on the way discovering an older piece, full of the contrast of dark and light made me happy.

Mother and son, by Marija Smits
Mother and son, by Marija Smits


Reading my very short story ‘Lady Seaweed or Tristesse’ at the Nottingham Writers’ Studio and was joyful.


Writing some sci-fi short stories was joyful.


Listening to some Pentatonix songs was joyful.


Meeting up with my friend and ex-mentee was heartwarming and wonderful.

And lastly, lighting the candles on our Nativity scene with my son and putting the Christmas tree up with our family, which is now stuffed full of ornaments – many of which have been made with much love – was joyful.

Nativity scene with candles
Nativity scene with candles


In a continued time of darkness I wish you all much joy and light.

With many thanks to Maddy for continuing to be the brilliant link-up host.


Writing Bubble

16 thoughts on “Light and dark and the idea of hope”

  1. Seeing my book in your list was definitely joyful! I’ve had a marvellous year personally, while being horrified by world events and some of the attitudes towards them. It’s been strange trying to help with the bad things while enjoying the good. Like you, I’ve had to find out what I can do productively to help, and allow myself the happy times. Thank you for another thoughtful and beautiful blog post.

    1. Cathy, so sorry it’s taken me an age to reply, but I’m very glad that I made you joyful re: me mentioning your book, and I’m glad that you’ve (personally) had a marvellous year. And I quite agree, we need to find the balance between what we can productively do to help, and still allow ourselves happy times. Wishing you all the best for 2016!

  2. maddy@writingbubble

    I can empathise with this. The world can feel overwhelming but you are so right that ‘putting messages of light’ (love that) out is worthwhile and enough, even when it doesn’t feel like it. There is so much good in this world, so very many wonderful, loving, good, kind, creative, empathic people. I wish the darkness didn’t exist but it doesn’t half make the light bits shine brighter, just as your wonderful painting displays. Lots of love to you and yours this Christmas. Thank you so much for being a lovely and supportive linker this year. xx

    1. Maddy – you’re clearly a very empathic person, so I was sure this would chime with you. Thanks for commenting, and you’re welcome re: the linking up. I really love the #WhatI’mWriting group. 🙂 Wishing you all the best for 2016!

  3. Oh Marija, your posts are always so thought provoking and beautiful. Sometimes there seems to be so much darkness in this world, reading the news online today I could have wept for all the sadness. But, we must always balance this with seeing and feeling joy, as you have. Thank you for being the lovely light that you are. Wishing you and your family a Christmas full of wonder and joy. Much love, Jane xxxx

    1. Sorry for taking so long to reply, Jane, but I really hope you had a lovely Christmas and I wish you all the best for 2016! THANK YOU too for all the beautiful images and words you bring into my life. 🙂

  4. Marija, I really share your views of the world, sometimes it all seem hopeless and that I as an individual can make no difference combatting the troubles that surround us. You are right though that we have to believe the world is a better place for all that we contribute. I love your list of things to make you happy. Happy Christmas x

    1. Thank you for commenting Alice, and I hope you had a great Christmas. I wish you all the best for 2016 and I’ll look forward to reading more of your interesting (and comforting) posts. 🙂

  5. Thank you for sharing your joy with us! It’s true, there is always light and dark… and we can respond to the darkness without turning to it… Holding on to hope seems to me like a lovely thing to too, to remind people that there is still light if we look for it. Xx

  6. Which is why mothering continues to be the most important job in the world. We give the earliest and deepest messages to all human beings. We do it with words and actions, and of course, books.

    1. Thank you for this beautiful (and important) reminder, Ana. I appreciated reading it very much. Wishing you all the very best for 2016. I hope it will be truly fab! 🙂

  7. Tracey @ One Frazzled Mum

    Beautiful post, We all need to be able to continue t find the light in all the darkness of the world. The light will always shine though as your post shows #WhatImWriting

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.