Please listen to me and try to understand. As difficult as that may be. Please try to understand that what is happening is not the end. It is only just the beginning.
Yes, I am talking to you. You who just received the terrifying diagnosis. You who has finally surrendered power over your addiction. You whose child is ill, whose parent is dying, whose best friend suddenly passed away. You who are divorcing the partner you can’t imagine life without. You who can no longer hide your sexuality, your true gender identity, your heritage. You who is sunk in a deep depression and can’t quite see the way out.
I know it seems dark right now.
But please try to remember these things.
Please remember that the darkness is not all consuming. I know it seems that way. It feels as if you are wandering through the desert in the wee hours of the night and your head lamp has given out and you can’t find your lantern and the clouds are even blocking the light given off by the stars. I know you cannot tell North from East or up from down and you are not quite sure where the bounds of the darkness end or if they even end at all.
But if you stop walking, stop wandering, stop frantically searching, and just sit in the soft sand and be still you will see it. It will take some time. Your eyes need to adjust and you need to catch your breath. But keep sitting there. Do not move.
Close your eyes. Feel the ground beneath you. Feel the air coursing through your lungs. Feel your heart beating in your chest. Feel that place where your deepest longings reside. The place where you maybe still feel light, even amidst all this dark.
Now open your eyes.
Maybe you see it now. That small crack in the deep, dark abyss. Its not where you expected it to be, is it?
You thought you knew where the light would be. You pictured the door in your mind. You know the direction to go in. But when the lights dimmed and it became harder to see, that’s when you realized the door you had been picturing was never your door. Maybe your door looks like a trapdoor, or maybe the door to an attic. Maybe your door is a barn door or maybe its even a window. You will realize it doesn’t really matter what your new door looks like. The only thing that matters is that this is your door. And that you can always move toward the light that shines from it. That light will always be there.
Even in the very pitch dark.
So you stand up and stretch your legs and start moving toward that new door. And now you may notice that the people who had been walking with you for all the years before, well, some of them have disappeared. Maybe they don’t like your new door or maybe the location of that door scares them. Maybe some of them keep trying to pull you in the direction of the old door – back from where you came. They don’t want you heading toward that new door. “That new door isn’t where you belong,” they plead. Maybe because they are afraid they will lose you when you go through that new door. Maybe because they can’t see that light.
So maybe you need to leave those people behind. Even though that is scary and feels lonely and some of the people are saying you’re abandoning them.
The next thing you should remember is that you don’t need anyone else to find that new door. Sure company makes any road trip more pleasant and conversation is nice when the road gets long, and everyone like double checking with someone else that they are, in fact, still headed toward the door, but you can – in fact – get there on your own. This is your journey – not anyone else’s. And sometimes the road to your door winds down lonesome paths. That is okay. In fact, that is good.
But please remember that even on those lonesome roads, you are never actually alone. Because even in those times, God, the Universe, Mama Luna, Mother Nature, Father Sky, your guardian angels, and your spirit guides – they are all right there with you. Every second. Of every dark day. Even the blackest ones.
So please try to remember – as hard as it may be – that you never, ever, walk alone.
Not for a single second.
But another thing you should know is that just up ahead – if you just keep on walking toward that new door – further down that road is your tribe. Despite the crack of light, its still too dark for you to see them waiting up ahead. You feel like your circle has collapsed, your safety net has been pulled. You feel like you will need to do this long walk alone.
You won’t. They are there.
And they are waiting for you.
And then the day comes when you have made your way through your door. You have come out the other side.
And you no longer recognize yourself.
Please remember that this you – the one who endured the journey, the one who kept pushing on – this is the real you. This is who you were created to be, who you were intended to become.
That you that you left behind at that cross-roads? At that moment when you had the choice between fear and love? She was merely your representative, your public façade, your front, your mask. She was who you thought you needed to be to be permitted to walk through the door that wasn’t actually yours.
Please remember you don’t need her anymore. She may have served you well for awhile, but its time to throw her a retirement party and let the real you shine. Please remember she always knew the way, and always will. She just needed a little kick in the pants to finally come out and play.
As as you look around at what lies on the other side of your door, as your eyes adjust to the brightness of the light and as you finally breathe in fully for the first time, what you see may be nothing like what you expected to see. The terrain might be completely different and the climate might be nothing like you thought you preferred. It looks unsettling - maybe even jarring - because you weren't prepared for this. But this is, in fact, where you belong. Give it some time. You will adjust, even to this.
And above all else, please remember this isn’t happening to you, as hard as that is to believe. Please remember this is happening for you. This is a gift, wrapped in the bleakest brown paper that ever did live, and possibly all tied up with yesterday’s trash, but it is, in fact, your greatest journey, your most priceless gift. It is only through these flames that you can ever be reborn. No everyone is afforded this horrible, painful, remarkably beautiful gift.
Please remember as you walk this road that you are, in fact, one of the luckiest.
And please remember that you can do this.
***For my beautiful friend who received her own cancer diagnosis today.***