I was recently visiting someone in jail. She was fighting depression. I know the instant reaction, “Yeah, I’d be depressed if I was sitting in jail!” But, it was more than that. Having sat in jail for over 7 months, she had come to terms with that aspect of her life. Besides, it was only a few days to her release to a residential drug treatment program. Things were actually looking up, but, she was still down.
It didn’t take long to get to the issue – Thanksgiving and the holidays.
So many lost family times. So many lost experiences. So many lost relationships. So many lost moments.
Because of holiday traditions that revolve around family gatherings, this time of year really accentuates every little moment/relationship/experience lost. They also have a tendency to give us plenty of time to ruminate, to really investigate every bit of pain, inequity, failing, mistake, etc. It is really easy to get lost in the Darkness.
My friend was feeling this “lostness”. It is so much more than the individual events or relationships. It becomes this feeling that nothing will ever be right again; that the losses had piled up into an emotional debt load that was insurmountable. Then it moves from feeling lost to being lost – as in lost incarnate. Not just a temporary condition, but a state of being that can never be wiped off the slate of the soul.
Yes, the events of the past will never change. The times lost now cannot be recovered. But, it won’t always be this way. Or, at least, it doesn’t have to be.
We do not mourn today as those who have not hope. (Okay, yes, I know, that passage is specifically about death, but there is a greater principle at work here as well.) As long as we have breath, we have an opportunity to make new choices. As we chose to live life with love and integrity, things begin to change. We can find Peace, Love and Joy. Even though they may feel a million miles away at the moment, we know they will be back. We hope.
When we live with the hope that Love, Joy and Peace are real and that we can and will experience them again one day, suddenly pain and sorrow become bearable. The Darkness lifts and the Sorrow is a little less moment by moment until it is just a shadow of sadness somewhere “back there”.
Hope becomes the promise of spring in the midst of winter. In the darkest, coldest, barren times, we know spring is coming.
And that’s enough.