The power of the mind will never cease to amaze me. This, we need to be cognisant of, is a double edged sword. Those strengths and attributes that see us soar, can also cut us down from the inside when we are faced with smaller moments that on their own mean nothing, but collectively grow into something none of us should ever have to face.
Facing those moments makes us stronger. And like getting stronger only comes through learning to get up after being knocked down.
All of these moments obviously take place in the places where we house our minds. This winter was no different. The exception was where I found myself...and where I would decide to head towards.
It’s like you one day decide to build a small shelter. The purpose being nothing more than keeping you from the storm that’s been following you through your forested journey. The lodgings are modest, but seem to be sufficient for you to regroup. Safe and dry and warm. You hoped.
Yet the subsequent rain left you wet. The winds left you cold. And the evenings left you thinking not of lingering sunny days behind you, but instead life’s darker moments ahead of you.
Despite winter approaching you chose to remain at the encampment. And you came to know the lodgings intimately well. You grew to hope for the best...while sometimes learning that it was better to expect much less. Autumn arrived, yet the days were colder than some winters you had previously endured. You simply assumed it couldn’t get any worse.
Apart from a scattering of twigs and leaves there was little to fuel what might have otherwise kept the evenings warm. Likewise, those supplies you foraged during the spring and summer were long gone. There was little else, including (it seemed at times), happiness, hope, and even God’s presence.
However, still you remained.
What was once hope became desperation. What was once clinging to something you knew and trusted, became knowing nothing else. What was once stubborn pride became ignorance.
In that darkened space you once called ‘Home’, you clung to the hope that something might intervene. That your life might change for the better ‘if only’. Upon waking, each morning began with the same thought – “not again”. Waking seemed to be nothing more than having no answers to the question you had long since forgotten.
Then one day the clumsy shelter burnt down. Life is short, and you told yourself that no matter how little you valued yourself, there were others that needed you to be there to help them also. So you did what you needed to do. Not for yourself, but for those more important than yourself. Which sometimes seemed to be everyone. It wasn’t an accident that it burnt down, and you did nothing to douse the flames as the fire licked the lodgings. The world you had come to know was consumed in front of your eyes. And you it knew it was for the best, because it felt good.
Ironically, in a world where thinking in ‘black and white’ had created as many issues as it had successes, this first step required a decision of clarity, and indecision’s grey middle ground would not suffice. Not this time. In a singular moment you had a choice – consciously go back to who you once were, or strive for a better you. Or die.
As you setoff, you expected there to be a nagging feeling to look back, but it didn’t exist. The part of you that persisted with a seemingly losing battle had now changed. In its place was the perseverance to seek out a better life. Those eyes, closed and simply hoping, were now opened to seeing everything about you. You knew that amongst what you observed in the clutter of life were the solutions required for you to survive. And as you walked from the campsite your senses were once again heightened as it finally dawned on you that every decision you made determined your success.
That place where you lived for so long, that created your entire existence, slowly disappeared behind you. You knew nothing else for what seemed like all your life, and now you didn’t even look back at the climbing pillar of smoke off on the horizon behind you. The only evidence that you ever lived in that place were the footprints that weaved their way through the frosted ground.
A smile. As you carried on, you knew it didn’t matter that you waited to do this – only that it was finally done. And no matter what happened now...you were truly alive.
Off in the distance you saw something that left you experiencing forgotten feelings. While your feet kept moving, the rest of your world stood still.
Before you, rising into the sky was a curved multicoloured light that reached far above from two sides of the horizon. You had seen this before. But now it is more than particles and matter. It was a rainbow. And it is beautiful. Yes it is. So majestic that you simply thought that God must have been in a decidedly pleasant mood when he thought up this creation.
Your feet were still cold as you continued. Somehow, however, you felt warmer now. Some might say ‘happy’. Or at the very least ‘happier’.
Tomorrow you’ll wake before the new day. You’ll sit and watch the sunrise, knowing that the cold of winter is now over. Knowing also that summer’s warmth will soon be upon us all.
And it will all happen at once. The sun breaking through the horizon’s pane. Suddenly you will realise that the new day will tell you where your world is really at. Dawn arriving will be more than just light returning. Dawn will be more than a thief stealing the night. Dawn will signal, in grandiose fashion, that a new day is arriving and it could just be the very best day of your life. Then. Yes. Then. You will also know it is truly summer...and you are getting better.