I feel you, my love.
I feel your heartache beat, and your sorrow echo. I know your despair.
It feels so cold, so dark. The swamp is all around you, threatening to swallow you whole. You fear sinking into the depths too deep to ever again emerge. You fear losing the battle.
You fear that the beautiful things you so passionately love are dying all around you and no one but you is heeding their pained cries. You weep as the divine is trampled unseen by those too blind or callous to care about the damage their eager feet wreak, and you feel responsible for not being stronger, wiser, cleverer, more able to save the delicate beauty of gentle, valuable things. You are screaming at the sky, calling for aid, and the silence you are receiving in reply feels like the Universe deciding that what you love is not worth saving. And you mourn the impending death of all that which makes life worth living.
Please, my love, remember: Lights shine brightest in the darkness.
Be a light.
Do good where you see the opportunity. Offer your train seat to the tired mom. Thank the grocery attendant and state your compassion for what must currently be a trying af job. Buy a coffee and a piece of fruit for the homeless guy down the street. The right action at the right time helps not only them but yourself; just one relieved, grateful or even disbelieving smile can recharge batteries you thought near depleted, can bring a wave of genuine connection, a natural high that reminds you of what you really crave, that affirms compassion and consideration are indeed the path forward you wish to commit to.
And suddenly you might find solace in what momentarily felt like futile drudgery. Maybe only 1/10th of the people you let merge in traffic wave in thanks or even notice how you changed your course to help them. Maybe no one saw you move that stick off the footpath lest it trip someone yet to walk it. Maybe no one noticed you pick up that 6-pack plastic beer ring and, even if they did, maybe they don’t understand why you’re cutting each ring before throwing it away, lest sea life become entangled and strangled by it. In the privacy of your home, no one saw you rescue that fly that landed in your water glass; you thought you might have been too late, your heart sings a tiny song of delight when it successfully flies on. You have rescued a life, however tiny.
All life is, is a collection of tiny things. Your actions have made the world better. You are singing the song you wish the world would dance to.
And suddenly, now that you’re looking for it, you might see other people doing the same. Little actions easily unnoticed. That truck that slowed down to let you in the lane. That extra potato cake the restaurant worker tossed in for you. That cop that decided to let you off with a warning. That neighbour that brought you fresh veggies from their garden. That friend that, seemingly out of nowhere, checked in with you at just the right time.
Is something magical happening? Where were these people before? It’s like. . .they saw you. Like they saw you do good and are now returning the favour, supporting your decision to be kind.
It grows, it deepens. Something is happening.
Now seeing other people help warms your heart, irregardless of whether you are the person being helped or not. That cafe worker made a babychino for that kid; no one ordered it, she just thought to make it and that kid’s delighted smile is EVERYTHING. It’s a hot day and that neighbour is putting out a container of water for any thirsty wildlife; they add a stick so any bugs don’t fall in, and their consideration hits you in the feels with the intensity of a mother seeing her newborn smile. While walking with a friend you see them wordlessly drop a few coins into an expired parking meter; you ask them if they know who the car belongs to. They don’t. They just thought a ticket would make someone’s day shittier, so they saved an absolute stranger from that unfortunate situation.
Now the walls are speaking to you. You’d fret you were losing your mind if it didn’t feel so fucking wonderful. Strangers are leaving notes in public places to affirm that, yes, you are seen, and loved, and valued. That graffiti is telling you you are beautiful. That bumper sticker is endorsing equality.
A bird chirps suddenly, pulling your attention. It has found a french fry on the ground. You watch it grasp the treasure in its beak, take wing and, incredulously, you witness it land on the eave above to selflessly share its treasure with another bird.
How can it know these things? How can a creature to whom you can’t speak share the values you once despaired were dying within your own species?
The world is singing to you. There is a song underneath all for those willing to develop the ears to hear it. There is a secret chorus of beings committed to this path; secret not because they wish to be but because they are invisible to all but those that dare to believe they exist and, yes, it may be that so, so, so few do.
But a few is enough. They have always been enough. They have always been here. They will always be here. They are the light that cannot go out.
They are the song-writers behind the spotlight, weaving messages of hope into Disney songs to inspire the children they hope to enlist to their cause. They are the volunteers who offer their time freely even when their own bills are only just getting paid. They are the nurses who despite over-worked burnout set their own fatigue aside to lay a steady hand on your shoulder, assuring you that it will be ok. You will be ok.
They are the unsung heroes. They are the ones that refuse to compromise their ethics, even when they know the consequences towards themselves may be dire. They are the soldiers who disobey unethical orders, though it may mean the loss of their job, their freedom or even their life. They are the First Nation peoples who refuse to resort to violence in their protests, even as they themselves are bullied and beaten. They are the creators who refuse to utilize propaganda to sell their wares, even if they suspect they have the potential for massive personal financial gain.
They are the people who refuse to put themselves before others. They are the people who believe that, in the utopia we seek, there is no hierarchy. They are the people that know no short-term gain will ever sooth the wound sacrificing their morality will inflict upon their soul.
They are the tenacious will that refuse to accept a society that serves anything less than all of us.
They are the children tirelessly tossing starfish stranded by the tide back into the ocean.
They are the ones who walk away from Omelas.
And their decision is not without reward. Until you experience that reward their battle is inspirational, but confusing. ‘How strong’, we think. ‘How admirable’. ‘Against all odds they stood their ground, it must have been so very difficult.’
It is, and it isn’t.
Those first steps are indeed so very difficult, yes. You feel weary, and alone. You feel you are walking a bitingly cold path, the wind always at your face, sheltering the candle of your hope cradled in your hands, ever expecting the flame to finally give up the ghost.
Walk the path long enough and the flame will, seem to, go out.
And you may find yourself alone in the dark with a stick of wax that once held all of your dreams and desires for this life, now just one more dead, meaningless, useless thing.
It can return.
And when it does (and it will, if you walk long enough) it will blaze. Perhaps not right away, perhaps not all at once. But at some point after the light comes back to you the realization will strike you: This light cannot go out.
It is Eternal.
Armed with this knowledge faith will flood you. You will look up and exactly what you need will be before you.
If it is not, you will search and find it.
If you cannot find it, you will create it.
If you cannot create it, you will accept its current non-existence and you will sing for its birth or discovery. You will maintain hope that, one day, it will BE.
And when next you seem to lose your light you will remember that last time you thought it lost. You will remember its return. You will make peace with its absence, at the same time leaving a door open in your heart for its surely inevitable return.
You see, it is when you cease to demand the existence of something that you are most likely to finally witness it. It is when you truly accept something’s perceived absence that it is likely to finally return, or appear.
So please, do not despair my love. Instead, raise the roof beams high. Water the plants you wish to see thrive. Be a lighthouse to the lands you wish that were.
And beyond remembering how lights shine brightest in darkness, please remember what is most vital: without the dark to define it, there would be no light at all.
When you can wholeheartedly thank the darkness for its existence and contribution, you will be in glorious lands indeed.
And if you find yourself there, please light a candle for the rest of us, still futilely cursing the darkness, unaware that the war we naively wage is against existence itself.
– Krys C