There’s a beautiful song entitled “Look for the Silver Lining” that was written in 1919, and recorded in 1920. The music is by Jerome Kern, and the lyrics are by B.G. DeSylva.
Its idealistic message is:
Look for the silver lining when e’er a cloud appears in the blue.
Remember, somewhere the sun is shining,
and so the right thing to do is make it shine for you.
A heart full of joy and gladness
will always banish sadness and strife.
So always look for the silver lining,
and there you’ll find the sunny side of life.
Take a listen.
Even though I appreciate the song’s positive intentions, I wonder, as I contemplate the devastation so many people face every day, if looking for silver linings is for the best.
Silver Linings or Denial?
Imagine you’ve just been laid off from a job you’ve held, and been passionate about, for a little over 19 years.
You can’t imagine doing anything else, and you’re one year short of retirement, even though it hasn’t been on your radar. You’re in a state of shock and disbelief. You’re offered support:
“Look at it this way: you can work for yourself now.”
“Be grateful it’s happening now, while you’re still considered employable.”
“Woohoo! No more alarm clock!”
“They’ll regret it. Just you wait.”
Imagine you’ve just lost a loved one to a harsh and prolonged illness. You can’t imagine life without them. You’re offered consolation:
“Look at the bright side: they’re in a better place now.”
“Be grateful they’re no longer in pain.”
“Rejoice! They’ve gone home to be with Jesus.”
“They’ll always be with you, in spirit.”
The statements in those two examples may be true. But is encouraging someone who’s in the throes of shock and grief to look for those silver linings helpful?
As much as I’m a certified (and possibly cockeyed) optimist and all for thinking positive, I believe it’s possible that denial of the more painful sets of human emotion – those dark nights of the soul – could be detrimental.
My beliefs tell me that we’re here in these human forms and lifetimes to learn certain things. They’re things that will ultimately help our souls on their journey to enlightenment. If we gloss over them entirely, we’re missing the lesson, and, by association, the opportunity for growth.
In the context of my beliefs, that evolution is of the utmost importance to the wellbeing of our very essence.
And here’s the thing about dark nights of the soul: As with any night, it’s followed by the dawn. The silver linings, then, will come anyway.
Over to You
What’s your perspective? Do you seek out silver linings “when e’er a cloud appears in the blue,” or do you stand in place and bide your time, knowing that they’ll come in their own time?