“Time heals all wounds.”
I used to hate that expression. In a world with mobile ordering and instant messaging, we don’t even have to wait in line for coffee anymore. I want to heal now. I want to see progress now. I deserve it. I didn’t get hurt on purpose. My heart wasn’t standing in the middle of a busy road, screaming out into the traffic, “I’m here to get run over! Come break me into bits and just leave me on the side of the road. I’m asking for it!” No, I gave it away thinking it would be taken care of. I thought it would be given shelter, food, and water, but instead it was turned away. The inn was full, so it had nowhere to go. I definitely wouldn’t accept it back, and it was too ashamed to turn to someone else and say, “All I have are the clothes on my back, but I’m here, beating and full of love. Please give some back.” So instead, it broke, and rather than filling with light, it was filled with darkness.
I’ve known darkness. Darkness and I have been pen-pals for a while now. Occasionally, I think I’m free of it, only to come home after a tiring day to a love letter or package addressed to me. Sometimes, I let the letter sit on the counter, but every day, when I am drinking coffee or reading the paper, I see it. It interrupts my sleep with its incessant whispers of I’m here. Deal with me, or I’ll multiply. More are coming. So many more if you don’t open me, live in me, and digest me. Don’t say I didn’t warn you.
I’ve been afraid to live in the darkness before. Afraid because I sometimes don’t think anyone will think to show up at my door with a flashlight to get me out. So instead of facing it, I run from it. Like a thunderstorm behind me in the car, it always catches up to me and leaves more destruction in its path than I could have ever imagined. It sneaks into my relationships, my projects, my thoughts, and my self-worth. We don’t need more destruction behind us. We don’t need more darkness. When no one shows up, we need to be the people who show up with the flashlights. We need to be the people who show up and say:
Yes, there is darkness, but there is also light, so much light. They can’t exist without each other. Find your light. You already have it in your heart. Welcome all parts of your heart with open arms, the broken parts, the happy parts, the darkness and the light. Welcome it, and let it shine. It’s okay if the light starts out dim, give it time. You can’t speed it up or manipulate time, darling, I really wish we could. Stand in the darkness until you find your light. I’m here, too, with my beat-up flashlight and broken heart. We’re going to make it out of these woods. The sun is going to rise above the branches, and a new day is coming. Don’t give up before it gets here.
You might lose faith. You might face storms and darkness and more pain than you’ve ever thought was possible. Your broken pieces aren’t here to remind you that you’re not perfect; they’re here as reminders that you fought the darkness and won. Fear does not deserve the pen to your story. That is not your voice. Your voice is the one that tells you that you’re stronger than you know. Your voice is the one that reminds you of when you were in the darkness before, and how much you grew from it. The light that you have yet to tap into is the voice of strength, the voice you’ll use as you rise up against whatever you’re battling and tell it that it no longer has a hold on you. Announce that you are in control of your story, and when you do, your light will be a beacon of strength that replaces any destruction the darkness left in its wake. Rise up. Tap into that strength. It’s been within you this whole time.