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  • Writer's pictureMark McMinn

A Reflection of a Reflection

Like so many others, I find myself in a season of not sleeping well. As a psychologist, I know the sleep hygiene tricks and even follow a few of them, such as getting up to Do Something Else after lying awake in bed for a time. Okay, blog writing in the middle of the night may not be the best sleep hygiene strategy, or the best writing method either, but tonight words are springing forth from my weary soul because of a picture I took with my iPhone through a double-paned window.

Yesterday I sat in a room, covid-masked along with 7 psychology doctoral students, as we followed our normal practice of checking in to see how life is going. The answer: life is difficult. So difficult. My students, and those they serve--like the world all around us--are groaning under the weight of it all. There's the mental health implications of a long pandemic, the struggles of daily living, the polarization, the anger, the animosity of our times. Then, of course, there's all the personal angst that comes with relationships and unfulfilled dreams and losses and having too much to do.

Have you ever tried walking through a field so muddy that your mired shoes are inclined to slip off your feet with every step? Does it sometimes feel like we are doing that sort of walking through life these days?

This all sounds quite dismal, but maybe that's okay when walking through thick muddy times.

Because I study positive psychology, I'm sometimes inclined to swipe away the collective misery and come up with reasons for gratitude. I'll not do that this time, but even tonight I will notice a light in the darkness. The full moon, a reflection of some Greater Light, is peeking through this double-paned window and through storm clouds that I can only know as storm clouds because the light allows me to see them as such. And I'll ponder the tiny moon showing up just above the tree line as I glimpse though a glass dimly: a reflection of a reflection.

After our 80 minutes together, I noticed a bit of lightness in my students yesterday. There were some smiles in the room, and even a bit of laughter, and some collective energy that we mustered because even if life is difficult, we are somehow in this together. If one of us loses a shoe in the mud, the others will gather around to help find it and put it back where it belongs.

Maybe just being with one another in difficult times is a reflection of a greater reflection. Perhaps being with is ultimately how we best glimpse the light.


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