“Deep into that darkness peering, long I stood there, wondering, fearing, Doubting, dreaming dreams no mortal ever dared to dream before.” – Edgar Allan Poe.
In the midst of darkness, light persists.” – Mahatma Gandhi.
“Maybe you have to know the darkness before you can appreciate the light.” – Madeline L’Engle.
“weeping may last for the night, but a shout of joy comes in the morning”. – Psalm 30:5.
Even the darkest night will end and the sun will shine- Victor Hugo.
“Nelson Mandela showed what is possible for our world and within each one of us — if we believe, dream and work together. Let us continue each day to be inspired by his lifelong example and his call to never cease working for a better and more just world”. – 2013/Former Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon.
Nelson Mandela, who died December 5, 2014 at the age of 95, was sentenced to life in prison in 1962 because he fought for justice, equality and democracy. He was finally released 27 years later, in 1990. South Africa’s racist apartheid system fell and Mandela served as president from 1994 to 1999. The tributes after his death rightfully celebrated him as a forgiving, compassionate humanitarian and great leader. Mandela understood as well as anyone that every human being has light that shines through the darkness. He knew darkness always wins when we fail and don’t get up. It wins when we make a mistake, and judge ourselves unmercifully and don’t move forward.
As we look again at Mandela’s journey to the light, we see that he spent the prime of his life in prison. Nearly a third of his life (28 years), through his 40s, his 50s and his 60s, was spent in prison. Mandela didn’t get out of prison until he was almost 72 years old. I am sure Mandela could have left prison and just retire as most people do. He didn’t. He decided he had a whole new chapter of his life to live out. His journey wasn’t finished at 72; in fact, in many ways it was just beginning. And his country and the world benefited because he didn’t retire .
This is something all of us should keep in mind every time we are faced with challenging times. When some of us think that life has become too difficult to bear, or the best years of our life have been lived out and it is time to fade away; or we have suffered wounds or lost hope, and just can’t get up and do.
YES, I know very well that sometimes life is unfair, and it is hard to manage. And for many people they find themselves living in a constant state of worry or find themselves overwhelmed by what life brings their way, which can be hard to manage. And for them even getting out of bed in the morning can feel like a real struggle; and for people they don’t win that struggle and suffer alone for a long time. They feel like they don’t belong and for some they get into depression, which is tough to get through.
When life feels stressful, lonely, depressive and everything that feel like too much. Like you don’t know how you’re going to get through this…. I want to tell you something…
If you’re feeling this way right now, you’re not alone. I know what this feels like for myself, and I see it with my friends, with my little family, with many people around me.
To feel this way is such a human experience. It’s pure, raw, unadulterated, broken, fractured humanness. We all have them … those times in our lives where we lose our way. We struggle to find ourselves in the midst of the everyday chaos that fills our lives. We lose sight of our hopes and dreams for the future. The flames that used to burn in our hearts seem to have been snuffed out. Where did they go? Where is our passion, our thirst for life?
Whether the source of sad feelings or overwhelming emotions in your life is a covid, war, disaster or a personal tragedy—or both—I want to truly be honest with you by saying that living through difficult times can take a heavy toll on your mood, health, and outlook. It can leave you feeling helpless and overwhelmed by stress and anxiety. You may be painfully grieving all that you’ve lost, flooded by a slew of difficult, conflicting emotions, or uncertainty about how to move on with your life. You may even feel that your life is totally out of control and you’re powerless to affect whatever may happen next.
While there’s no way to avoid sorrow, adversity, or distress in life, there are ways to help smooth the rough waters and regain a sense of control. Here below are some suggested thoughts that have helped me and others, and I want to share them with you too:
1. Everything is temporary. Including the pain, the difficult times, the struggles, etc., allow yourself to love yourself even more during those times. Don’t beat yourself up, be gentle with yourself during those times because that is when it’ll matter and help the most. Light can always be found when the darkness ceases. Allow yourself to give that light and love to yourself through it all. We have to remind ourselves that the sun will rise tomorrow and that we have the opportunity to celebrate the new beginning that each day brings. It is never too late to begin again. Although it may feel like the flame has been extinguished, the embers still exist.
2. Hope is a sure thing. I would like to reflect on the meaning Easter for Christians. For the Christians, Easter weekend is more than just easter eggs chocolate bunny rabbits, but because of the actual reason for the season. Good Friday is like the epitome of “darkest night” – an innocent man who was brutally tortured and killed by the accuser, and here He was to be the Savior of the world. But the sun did indeed rise on Easter Sunday – as promised all along – and His horrible death brought new life in the Resurrection.
My friends, I want you to be encouraged that no matter what hurdle you’re attempting to jump over, whatever burden you’re bearing or struggle you’re battling – there’s always another day. Lately, I feel lots demands needing my attention and time, if I was to allow this things to lead my life I would easily start to find myself feeling drained and overwhelmed. But I have chosen to believe that Good Friday situations in my life are not my default destination, yes I believe a new hope is coming, and yes you too can have hope in tomorrow.
3. Snap out of it and change perspective. For me, there have been many times when I felt sadness. I didn’t know what to do to overcome it. I constantly dwelt on the things that made me unhappy. Day by day I dug further into the pit that held my darkest moments. I couldn’t get better. No matter where I go or what I do, I just wasn’t happy. I suffered, I became tired, I became helpless, and I lost control of my own life. Then I realized it’s time to snap out of it. It’s time to get up and start walking again so I seek for ways to get through it. I tried many things then I realized the ultimate solution was to change my perspective, to accept the fact for what it is. I constantly remind myself that it will all be over soon. I can’t allow it to ruin me.
Maybe you can’t have what you want this instance. It’s frustrating, I get it. But that doesn’t mean you won’t ever get it.
To be alive is to have faith—God’s hands are always stretched out to help you out. It’s faith that we have hope with assurance.
“All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given us.” – Gandalf, The Fellowship of the Ring.
Here, Gandalf reminds Frodo that as much as it hurts to be alive during dark, frightening and tumultuous times, it’s best to focus on the choices we do have. It is true, the world is indeed full of peril, and in it there are many dark places; but still there is much that is fair, and though in all lands love is now mingled with grief, it grows perhaps the greater.
Remember that: “…in the end the Shadow was only a small and passing thing: there was light and high beauty for ever beyond its reach.” -J.R.R. Tolkien When we are tempted to despair, it is that clearing in the trees, the break in the clouds, that keeps us going. It’s so easy to look around and see the darkness that fills this world, but there is light too. And this Light will overcome the darkness.