I don’t know how to describe this. It’s one of those things that is a mix of emotion, color, and a couple random words.
Forgive me if I ramble. I don’t know how to put this in simple words. This is me processing this and allowing you to read my brain.
You’re welcome, Darling Creepers.
There’s an experiment where scientists put a group of people in a room with music playing softly. They encouraged them to talk among themselves and do whatever. Then they turned the music up really gradually. The people in the room never noticed the music turning up. It got so loud, during the experiment, the people were shouting to be heard, but they didn’t notice they were shouting and they didn’t notice that the music was louder. Finally, someone realized it was super loud, and they all found themselves in agony over how loud it was in the room.
That’s kind of how my life is right now. In this exact moment. I think.
Almost two years ago, my life was overshadowed by black. It was a black like what you get when you’re in the deepest parts of a cave.
That kind of black is scary. There is absolutely no light for your eyes to see, so your brain freaks out and starts imagining you can actually see things.
If you hold your hand in front of your face, your brain will say you can see it. But you can’t. If you touch the outline of a jagged point on a rock, your brain will paint a faint picture of it for you, but it really has no clue what it looks like. It could be that a saber-tooth tiger has crawled in the cave and yawned, and you’re really petting its tooth. You think you’re touching a rock because that’s what your freaked out brain is telling you, but you don’t really know if it’s a rock or a saber-tooth tiger tooth because you can’t actually see, no matter how much you think you can.
This is one of the reasons people go insane if they’re left in that kind of darkness too long. It’s also why they fall into deep, dark holes even though they thought they saw a safe way.
The point is, in a darkness that deep, you can’t trust what your brain is telling you you’re seeing. It’s too dark for your brain to really know what’s going on.
When your life is in a darkness that deep, your brain lies to you again.
“You can’t tell anyone how you feel; they won’t understand.”
“It would probably be better if you just stopped breathing. Whatever way you could come up with to manage that would be fine with me.”
“Maybe if you cut a little deeper next time, everything will feel normal again.”
It’s so dark, your brain is making things up because it’s freaking out, and, it all sounds so convincing, you want to believe it. Bad idea. A lie is a lie, no matter how cleverly it’s dressed up. Even if it’s coming from the brain you trust.
The safe, hard, steady rock you think you’re touching is really a yawning saber-tooth tiger and, as soon as it closes its mouth, it’s going to bite your face off.
So, who do you trust when your brain is a freaked out, lying, traitorous organ?
Well, purely by accident, someone came along and reminded me that I wasn’t alone in my darkness. They brought me a flashlight.
I refused to use it for a really long time, but I looked up today and discovered something.
My world’s not black anymore.
Like the people in the experiment, my discovery of this change was sudden, shocking, and strange. And it happened without my consent or overt desire for change.
Looking back, I can see where my world has lightened. I can pinpoint moments where my world changed colors, ever so slightly, and I never noticed.
I can also pinpoint the moment it started changing. It was when someone brought me my flashlight.
It wasn’t that I turned it on, and I could see again. I didn’t do that. Remember, I refused to use it.
In that moment, I learned I wasn’t alone. And I learned there were other things I could trust.
My eyes were lying. My brain was freaking out. I was hearing things that wanted me dead.
But I still had all my other senses.
They say that, when you go blind, all your other senses enhance. I think they’re right.
My brain was telling me the tooth was a rock, but my nose knows what stinky, saber-tooth tiger breath smells like. I trusted my nose and learned to walk away.
My brain said there was no one there in my darkness, but my hands met other hands around me, reminding me I wasn’t alone.
My brain was telling me lies about what I should do to myself, but my ears heard quiet whispers of love that grew as I listened harder.
And I took a step.
I think that, with every step I took, my life got a little brighter, but I was so busy being distracted by everything else going on in my life, I never noticed the change.
It was gradual, and I don’t think I’m completely out of the cave yet. I may never be, but now I remember that the sky is brilliantly blue and leaves are full of seventy million shades of green. I remember that darkness doesn’t always win, and I can trust my life to Something much larger than me.
I can’t always see. I can’t always trust my brain. I can’t always believe the terrible words in my head.
Yeah, sometimes I walk back into the darkness because the light hurts and, quite frankly, I don’t always like touching people.
I do know, however, that there is no darkness where Light comes in. I know that, when the depths of the cave steal my voice, the Spirit inside me intercedes and interprets my senseless groans into cries for help. And I know the Light comes. Not all at once, but slowly, as I let Him come, as I walk toward Him.
The Light always beats the darkness.
In this moment, I’m in The Dark Place. I define myself by how smart I am, and I just did terribly on a final. It drastically affected my final grade in the class, and I’m beating myself up over it.
I also know I won’t be here long. Right now, The Dark Place I’m in is so much lighter than The Dark Place I was in a month ago.
All that to say, I’m constantly moving. My life is a mix of forward and backward steps. I’m not always headed in the right direction in the fastest way possible, but I am always headed somewhere.
Ultimately, I’m making my slow trek back out in the sunshine. That doesn’t mean I’m not going to have really bad days, but I think that’s okay. Ultimately, I’m going in the direction I need to go, and I’m learning coping mechanisms and how to hand things over to God and better ways to communicate with people while I’m going.
I think, even though I’m in The Dark Place this evening, I’m still headed in the right direction. I’m not walking by myself, and I’m not about to get my face eaten off by a saber-tooth tiger. That’s progress.