“The night is long
And the path is dark
Look to the sky
For one day soon
The dawn will come”
– from “The Dawn Will Come,” from Dragon Age: Inquisition
This is the refrain of a song that sings of having hope when things seem hopeless, having faith when it is easy to give in to despair, and standing with courage even when fear and terror are gripping at our hearts. It is the promise of day and night, the most natural, inevitable thing in the world:
Night will always end and dawn will always come.
Even the deepest, most terrible, and enduring darkness must pass.
Most people might think the lyrics about “one day soon” makes it quite obvious that dawn comes, but I grew up in Alaska, and I can promise you, dawn does not come every single day. You go far enough north or far enough south, far enough away from the central regions of the planet’s surface, and you will experience months of winter where the sun does not rise. However, on the flip side, you will also experience months of summer wherein the sun does not set.
There is something to learn from that. No night is eternal. Day and night, light and dark, good and evil… they have their time, their season, in every corner of the world, and sometimes they last quite a bit longer than usual. Still, even at their most fleeting, it can be very easy for us to think that whichever one we are going through right now is how things always were and how they will always be. We despair in our dark times, and we grow complacent in the light. But just as every golden age on Earth is doomed to end, so is every long night of agony.
I find myself lately much preoccupied with the darkness of the world, and how it is quite obviously on the rise in many ways. I most especially seem to be burning with a desire to roar at the darkness, as if the volume of my voice might make manifest my will and save all that is good and right and innocent from the evils of the world. But while my courage (such that I can claim) and love of goodness is… well, good, I am forced to admit, upon honest introspection, that there is more than a nugget of my own darkness in my would-be defiance. There is fear for my loved ones, sorrow for suffering and loss of liberty, and anger – no, worse, hatred – towards those who inflict such agony on their fellow man. In short, despite my faith, my zeal is fueled partially by my despair.
But when I hear the words of this song, and other such inspiring material, I ask myself: why do I despair? It reminds me: goodness has endured terrible ages of darkness, and light, also, is on the rise, as surely as is evil.
Ok, so the times ahead will not be easy. They will try us incredibly. So what? I am not a god, to try and keep the night from falling. I am a human, and I can trust in the promise of the dawn.
The night is dark, but I have the moon.
And if I even if I don’t, I have the stars.
And even if I don’t, I have a torch in hand.
And even if I don’t, I have the torches of my fellows.
And even if I don’t, I have the sun, which will rise again!