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It’s not been long since last I questioned the nature of existence as a whole, and exactly where I belong in this world.
I’ve wrestled with a monster named Depression for years now, but it’s truly felt like an eternity. I believe that is where it gets its power – it has an ability to bend time and make you forget than there is a reality of existence that is different than the one that you’re experiencing now.
This monster steals the hope that things could possibly be better, or even that life could bring a different set of hardships then the ones you are currently facing, which would at least relieve the current stresses before replacing them with others.
This inability to see a future that is any different is the hardest burden to bear, it extends the darkness and makes you forget that there is anything other than the clammy suffocation and the silence.
I truly believe that one of the most valuable qualities to possess is a vivid imagination, because without a healthy dose of it myself, there would be no sporadic flickers of hope among the brambles. It’s in the darkest of times that I must force my imagination to take the reins, however unwilling, and suppose that just maybe this monster is not as encompassing as it seems from the vantage point of being lost within it. When a storm cloud hovers over you, all you can see is rain. This does not negate the existence of sunshine, nor does it diminish its powerful warm rays.
I don’t mean to pretend that this ability to forsee another future is something that comes easily, in fact I find that I need physical reminders of hope like the encouraging words of another, or the sight of kindess in action. Although marked by fragility, this hope buoys my spirit oftentimes just long enough to come through the fog, and step back into the sunshine, even if its not for long.
Fred Rogers (Mister Rogers to many of us who grew up with happy childhoods) one said:
“When I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me, “Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.”
Mister Roger’s wisdom applies to everyday, as we all are managing to walk the difficult walk that is an individual human life. If you too are suffocating, if you too feel burdened to the point of brokenness, let these words be the physical reminder that there is always good in the word, if you can just remember to look for it.
Wherever there is suffering, there is also kindness, where there is war, there are peacemakers. Where there is cruelty, there is also humanity at work to end it. And if you happen to experience a moment in which you see none of these things, remember that you have the power within you to lighten another’s spirit yourself and be a beacon of hope in their world. You don’t need any special talent or ability to do this. All you need is already there within yourself – be kind, be generous, be good to the next wandering soul you encounter.
I know when you feel drained to the point of almost dissipating entirely the last thing you’ll want to do is give more of yourself. But I have a secret that is not – so -secret. In case you’ve forgotten, here it is: When it comes to giving of this kind, from the resources of kindness within your soul, the magic is this: as you give, your own reserves will become replenished. And sometimes the knowledge that each positive action you take causes a ripple effect that has a life of its own, sometimes that is all the reminder we need that life is not always bleak and barren.
Maybe we can’t avoid these difficult times, but we can weather them, if we turn to each other with generosity and empathy.
When surrounded by the cloud of anxiety, of doubt, of numbing nothingness, of sadness and loss, of isolation or guilt, always remember that you are a human being with the power of empathy. And so you have within yourself an innate power to turn on the light for others, and in doing so, for yourself.
“Happiness can be found, even in the darkest of times, if one only remembers to turn on the light.”
I set out today to write as a thank you to the wonderful author J.K Rowling, who has articulated some of the most powerful sentences about life that I have the had the good fortune to come across. I suppose this entire post and how I feel about the impact of her writing an be summarized by her own words: ”
“Words are, in my not-so-humble opinion, our most inexhaustible source of magic. Capable of both inflicting injury, and remedying it.”
So use your words, use them wisely, and touch the world with them. In doing so, you’ll shift the balance in favour of all that is good within the world, and replenish your own spirit.
“Your own soul is nourished when you are kind; it is destroyed when you are cruel.” -King Solomon
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