Monday, September 26, 2011

Wrestling with the Darkness

I admit, I have dark, brooding parts to my mind; it's just how I am. I have had to learn to embrace this part of my personality as well as the more light-filled parts of myself. When put together, all the parts make me, me. It is my belief, that God made me this way, and he did so for a reason. There are all kinds of people in the world, and differences are a good thing. My dark moods don’t always make me the best friend in the world, or the best sister, daughter, mother, or wife, but I am blessed beyond measure to have long-suffering people in my life who accept me-- dark places and all. I am comforted by that blessing.

I was doing some reading in scripture, and I came across Job 28. I just love it when God points me to the exact words that I need to hear at any the very moment I need them. In this chapter of Job, it is brilliantly illustrated that sometimes the brightest things are found in the deepest recesses of the darkness. Often, we must stumble, and grope around for a while in the dark to find our treasure. Once we find the prize, the nugget of gold, we climb out of the darkness, and we are richer for the experience.

Darkness doesn’t have to mean negativity, or depression, it is simply a means to an end. It's how I learn. It took me many years to realize this. I used to try to immediately go to a light, happy place in my mind when I started to feel the darkness creeping in. I found that just made it worse in the end, because the bona fide, lasting nuggets of goodness were only available if I dug deep into the pit. In my younger years, I would run from it, shake myself into cheerfulness and hide my darkness, not only from those around me, but also from myself. How many learning opportunities must I have lost by doing that? How many years wasted not being who God intended for me to be?

Not everyone is made up the way that I am; I am painfully aware of that. Perhaps only the staunchest of personalities can withstand my moodiness, but I am content with those around me who can. I stopped hiding this part of myself away in order for others feel comfortable around me. That doesn't mean I take pleasure in unleashing bad behavior on others. I'm still able to maintain a modicum of decorum. I delight in those who can come along side of me and grow with me. There are those who see my heart and know that my personal darkness is not a flaw in character, or a reflection on them, but yet simply another part of me.

It’s always darkest before the dawn. Life goes on. Seasons change. Those are old adages. Old adages often become old adages because they carry so much wisdom with them, so people pass them on from person to person, age to age.  They become timeless pieces of wisdom. Those old adages come to my mind as I wrestle with the darkness, and try to find my gold. I may not find it today. I may have to keep digging deeper and deeper into the darkness in my search. I am peaceful, if not cheerful in my search. I know that I am never alone. Isaiah 41:13 lets me know that my God is, even now, taking hold of my right hand and helping me. No, I am never alone as long as I have that promise.

I will find my way in and out of the darkness many times in my life. I will have grown in the process with each venture. As the darkness gives way to light,  there's always beauty among the ashes.