Finding the Light in Your World
The other day, my husband was taking pictures at our farm in Tennessee. Our son invited his girlfriend to come out and they were sitting by the fire. As I reviewed the pictures my husband took of our son, I saw one that caught my eye. It was a beautiful, candid picture of our son looking straight at the camera with the fire on his right side, lighting his face. Half of his face was lit-up by the fire, and the other half was dark.
I could tell it was Brendan, because I recognized him by the half of his face that was lit up. If I covered up the lit portion of his face, though, I would not be able to recognize him. I would still be able to tell it was a human figure, but I wouldn’t be able to see who it was because his face was black on the side that was facing away from the fire.
Isn’t that just like life sometimes? So often we find ourselves on the “dark” side of life, where we can barely recognize ourselves because it is so dark. We know we are human, and we know we exist, but sometimes our true self is unrecognizable when we are enveloped in the dark.
We often lose hope because we think that the dark is all there is. We don’t realize that the light is still there. We squint and try to see ourselves in the dark, but it’s not possible to see the real person…only the black, only the dark, only the pain. The dark makes us ALL unrecognizable.
When you have become someone you don’t even know, it’s hard to believe that the person you used to be is still there. But that person IS still there. You simply can’t recognize yourself because you don’t have any light. The person you “used to be” still resides in you, even in the worse times of your life. Just ask the photographer; he can see it. He can see “the real you” through the lens.
It’s similar to a moonless night. When you can’t see the moon at all, say, right before a new moon phase, does that mean that there is NO MOON? Did the moon disappear? No, obviously not. I can’t even begin to tell you what it would do to our planet if the moon REALLY disappeared. It’s still there. You can’t see it, but you have faith that it’s still there.
Just as you have faith that the moon is still there when you can’t see it, you need to have faith that the real YOU is still there, even though you can’t see yourself.
The hope is on the other side. The hope is there, waiting for you to come back around to a “new phase” in your life.
OK, great, so how do I get back to the light, you ask? How do I just jump from the dark side of my face, from the dark side of the moon, to the side where there is hope?
That depends on you.
I don’t know your individual circumstances. I won’t pretend to know what you’re going through, because I’m at the other end of this computer writing this article, not knowing who might be reading it.
But I can tell you for sure that there is ALWAYS HOPE.
I KNOW that there is always hope because if you are reading this, then you are ALIVE, and if you are alive, there is ALWAYS a chance to start over again. It might take some time…it might take quite a bit of time, but there IS ALWAYS a way to start over, to take control of your life again. You just have to find that way.
If you are an addict, maybe it’s admitting the fact that you are addicted and getting treatment. If you are depressed, maybe it’s taking a good, hard look at your life and making plans to become the person you used to be again. This could involve treatment, counseling, medication, or seeking support from friends (which means that you would have to admit your problem, which is scary but sometimes necessary). It could also involve finding a hobby you enjoy and putting your time and energy into that hobby. Nothing seems to cure a person with situational depression more than good, old-fashioned productivity.
If you are neither depressed nor an addict but are just going through a lonely time, or a tough time, or an exhausting time, or a trying time, or a bad relationship time, or an “I have too much to do and not enough hours to do it” time, or an “I have teenagers” time, or a new baby time, or a “struggle with a friend” time, or an “I lost my job” time, or an “I’m getting older and can’t do what I used to do” time, or an “I’m too young to do what I want to do” time, or an “I’m not sure who I am” time, maybe you just need a vacation or a good friend who will listen and empathize, or some time to meditate and think about your life in it’s entirety, rather than the day-to-day things that you do.
It’s OK, for example, if you need to lay low while adjusting to a new baby and not get a whole lot accomplished besides the needs of that baby. When you look at your life as a whole, you ARE accomplishing something, although it might not seem like it if you look at it on a day-to-day basis.
Or if you are a teenager trying to find yourself and it seems like you just can’t get it right, believe me, it’s not the end of the world. It’s not even the end of your journey to self-discovery. You are NOT a failure. You are just stuck in the dark, and it’s OK to be there for a while, because you have the rest of your life, not just ‘til tomorrow, to find where the light is in your life. When you are able to look at your life as a whole, not just how your life is going this week, you may realize that you have plenty of time and opportunity to come around to a very fulfilling place in your life. Allow yourself to make that journey. Some make it faster than others, but it’s not a race. It’s crossing the finish line that counts. Some are sprinters and get to the light quickly, but even if you are a long-distance runner, keep going and you will eventually cross the line.
WHATEVER you are going through, as you step back and take a good look at where you’d like to be, you are slowly but surely circling back to the light. As you begin to take action on those goals, you are going even faster towards the light. Sometimes, the hardest part is BEGINNING. If you can BEGIN, that’s more than half the battle. As you accomplish your goals, you will see the light that’s there…that has been there the whole time…and you will soon recognize yourself and who you really are.
YOU decide your path. YOU decide what you think will get you back around, and then YOU decide when to do it. Just be sure that if you CAN’T decide because of confusion or other factors, you get help with someone you trust who can help you sort it all out.
As a songwriter, I love to put feelings into words, and wrote a song called “Lifeline.” It’s about admitting you need help and asking for it…
Throw me a lifeline, I can’t do this on my own
Think it’s about time for this pride to let go
Yeah, it’s an emergency, this water’s way too deep
I’ll keep on drownin’ ‘til you come around and
Throw me a lifeline
I think lowering your pride and ASKING for help when you need it is a HUGE step towards turning back to the light. We often don’t like to ask for help because we fear being judged by others, or we don’t want other people to know we have a problem. We want to seem invincible. But shhhhhh…I’ll tell you a secret…we ALL struggle. Yes, even those people around you who seem invincible. In fact, sometimes those people struggle most of all, because they are unwilling or unable to get the help that they truly need.
Hopefully, those you go to for help won’t judge you or look down on you because you’re struggling. If the person you go to for help looks down on you because you are struggling with X, believe me, they can’t really say anything because they are struggling with Y. Maybe nobody knows it, but they ARE. In my opinion, it’s STILL better to risk being judged by someone and get one step closer to getting your life right than to linger in a state that keeps you from really living.
Pretty soon, if you figure out what’s keeping you in the dark, if you admit (even to yourself) what that demon is, and if you seek help from yourself or from those who can really help you, you will finally SEE WHAT THE PHOTOGRAPHER SEES through the lens. You will see BOTH SIDES of the picture. And when you do, it is a beautiful sight. It is definitely a true work of art.
Sherri Gough is the author of the newly released inspirational book called “Dust – A Book for Broken People.” It is specifically written to encourage people struggling with addictions or depression, and is available on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and at www.outskirtspress.com/dust.
The song “Lifeline” written by Sherri Gough is copyright protected but is available for streaming (entire song) at www.reverbnation.com/sherrigoughtheacousticproject. It will be available for download soon.