Victor Hugo wrote, “Even the darkest night will end and the sun will rise.”
One of my all-time favorite scenes from ANY book – comes from a little chapter in Hugo’s Les Misérables, titled “Little One All Alone”
In this chapter, Cosette, who is 8 years old, has been forced to go and bring back water for the Thenardiers. This involves going into the dark forest, alone at night, while carrying a bucket so big she could actually fit inside of it.
Victor Hugo uses his great words to paint this gloomy, dismal scene; Hugo lets us feel the pain of this terrifying chore:
“Overhead the sky was covered with vast black clouds, which were like masses of smoke” and “a cold wind was blowing from the plain. The forest was dark, not a leaf was moving…”
And after Cosette almost “loses it” mentally – she musters up some strength and pushes on:
“Then, by a sort of instinct, she began to count aloud, one, two, three, four, and so on up to ten, in order to escape from that singular state which she did not understand, but which terrified her, and, when she had finished, she began again; this restored her to a true perception of the things about her. Her hands, which she had wet in drawing the water, felt cold; she rose; her terror, a natural and unconquerable terror, had returned.”
Cosette was agonizing and filled with fatigue – and after a short rest, she then….
“…summoned up all her strength, picked up her bucket again, and courageously resumed her march, but the poor little desperate creature could not refrain from crying, “O my God! my God!
At that moment she suddenly became conscious that her bucket no longer weighed anything at all:
A hand, which seemed to her enormous, had just seized the handle, and lifted it vigorously.
She raised her head.
A large black form, straight and erect, was walking beside her through the darkness; it was a man who had come up behind her, and whose approach she had not heard.
This man, without uttering a word, had seized the handle of the bucket, which she was carrying.
There are instincts for all the encounters of life.
The child was not afraid.”
Jean Val Jean showed up at just the right time and as his hand lifted the weight of the heavy bucket, her heavy load was lifted.
Hugo titled this Chapter “Little one all alone” but in reality – it is a scene of a rescue! It a story of timing – and how someone can help someone else carry a heavy load – and this scene highlights that we are NOT alone.
So keep that in mind as you go into this day – as the month of “March madness” winds down- swooshes away – and as we move into a new spring season.
Remember that you are not alone and God will never give you more than you can handle.
I am not sure if it is a rescue you need, or if you are the one that needs to extend a reaching hand to someone – but we all can use “grounding in perspective” – because awesome days are ahead – and as Victor Hugo said:
“Even the darkest night will end and the sun will rise.”
.and p.s. – Go UVA!!
Read more of Les Misérables here.