"There is a difference between seeing the sun and feeling the sun." - Sam Richardson
A couple of weeks ago, I was in the midst of one of the most stressful weeks I've had in a long time. The details of what caused that chaos aren't relevant here, but what is relevant is a philosophical discovery I made during that time.
The quote above is something I came up with while watching the sunset with a friend of mine in the middle of this week from hell. We were both having pretty terrible weeks, actually. To the best of my research ability, I have made fairly certain that I am the original author of this phrase. We were watching this sunset--the beautiful dance of colors that is so intertwined with the movement of the earth--when we realized how to express the pain we were feeling at the time. And thus, the philosophy about the sun was born.
There is a difference between seeing the sun and feeling the sun. A difference between seeing its rays and absorbing the innate goodness of them. Many of us go throughout our days, seeing the goodness available to us, but not making any meaningful strides toward achieving it.
It is not easy to look at the sun and feel nothing. But that is where some of us end up. In a place where we are mere observers of goodness, not participants in it. And that hurts sometimes.
There is something to be said for those who live in the sun and participate in its radiant warmth, even when the world seems against them. Even when there's nothing they can smile about. And there is also something to be said for those of us who are just within reach of its glory but seemingly fall short of obtaining it.
Life is challenging, no doubt. But the sun’s dance through the sky serves as a reminder that tomorrow is only one sunset and one sunrise away. The night only lasts so long. Sometimes, our tomorrows will be better, the same, or worse. But tomorrow will come regardless.
So, the pain we feel today might be what causes tomorrow's joy. The joy we feel at the sun's rising may be a catalyst to even greater joy the next day--or a short-lived flicker of light in an otherwise dark path. In those moments of the true light, we must feel the sun and absorb its rays. The light will sustain us through the dark--just so long as we know the light will return. And who to look for to find light in the darkness.
Queen Elizabeth once said that we must draw comfort that even on the darkest nights, there is hope in the new dawn. And really, what more vigor do we need? The mere opportunity of another day, another chance, should be all that we need to break out into the sun and dance in its warmth.
But it’s not that easy. It takes grit to dance in the sun. And getting there? Well, I suppose I don’t have all the answers… But all I know is that tomorrow will come. And one day, we will all feel the sun upon our skin and relish in it. Not just see it from the windows of our exterior, and often detached, perspectives.
If there's any lesson I've taken away from this philosophical discovery, it's this: nothing will prevent us from prolonged experiences of pain and suffering. No magic bullet will ever prevent sadness, stress, anxiety, or depression from taking hold of us. But what we can do is make an effort to make our time in the sun truly great. Enjoy the company of your friends, family, and love the people around you like there's no tomorrow. Because when the rays of the sun get cast upon our skin and we don't absorb them, the people around us will help us feel it.
We have a duty to help others feel the sun--especially when we can only see it.