Many of us do our best worrying in the middle of the night. It’s usually only after the lights go out that the daytime doubts which swirled around us like subtle background music seem to hit their thundering crescendo. In these moments it can be difficult to concentrate on anything but the low-frequency rhythm of fear pulsing through our bodies like bass through a subwoofer.

We know this kind of worry well. The all too familiar fanfare of panic and dread that haunts us in the dark and quiet places. The looming fear that begins as a shadow lurking in our doorways, and ends as an intruder holding a gun to our heads, calmly instructing us to hand over our valuables.

But the tricky thing is— there’s a very fine (but very important) line between what is real and our thoughts about what is real. Our reality is the present moment just as it is, nothing more. Our thoughts about our reality are the shadows lurking in our doorways: the worst case scenarios. The what ifs. The worries about things that may well never come to pass.

And our valuables?

They are the hope and the joy and the peace we’re able to experience in the right now, despite whatever fear du jour may have us in its grip. The friend that does something kind and unexpected. The partner who leaves us a note of encouragement. The child that reminds us to slow down long enough to appreciate what matters— these are our rare jewels.

And it’s up to us to choose whether we will forfeit them to the darkness or let them light our path.

To remind ourselves that our valuables are real—unlike the shadows that threaten to steal them from us.

And to remember that by holding our rare jewels to the light, we are not only casting away our own darkness, but reflecting life’s beauty and goodness back to each other– our fellow travelers in an uncertain world.