When I first saw this quote, I had to read it a couple times. It sounds so WRONG, and yet when you think about it, it can really make sense:
“Someone I loved once gave me a box full of darkness. It took me years to realize this, too, was a gift.” – Mary Oliver
Someone said this about it: “The people who teach us these dark lessons are very special people; deserving a mix of honour, compassion and pity. For in some cases they’ve given up their freedom, their joy, their peace unto the darkness that now owns them.” Everyone knows something like that and is struggling to deal with the conundrum.
In essence, it echoes Genesis 50:19-21 : “But Joseph said to them, ‘Don’t be afraid. Am I in the place of God?” You planned evil against me; God planned it for good to bring about the present result — the survival of many people. Therefore don’t be afraid. I will take care of you and your children.’ And he comforted them and spoke kindly to them.”
Joseph is speaking here to His brothers, reminding them that although it was their intent to get him out of the way, God used it in His infinite plan, to bring about the preservation of a nation. Lives were saved, not because of, but despite a poor choice, an action meant to destroy and cause pain.
So, the awfulness that we endure, the darkness given to us by those we love/d (including our growing up years), is a gift from God meant to grow us so that we may be infinitely more equipped to help others, to grow them and “preserve their lives,” and to share in their burdens from personal experience. Because of this, we are specifically and pin-pointedly prepared to help our family, our friends, and even strangers.
When your perspective allows you to view things in this way, it is really amazing what God does to transform evil intentions into actions and behaviors that help others and glorify him. Really amazing. He is so cool. He sure loves us a lot.