I Want to Live in this World
This past weekend, I experienced a trauma. It doesn’t fit into the categories of other traumas I’ve experienced. It wasn’t a car wreck, a sexual assault, or a medical trauma. There’s no ready-made label to validate my experience, and maybe that’s part of what makes it so hard. I wrote up the whole story to share with you, thinking that if you walked with me into my darkness, then we could also walk together back into the light. Isn’t that what we all do in life, over and over? Whether together or alone, we live in darkness, then reconnect with the light that was there all along, repeating that process over and over again.
I don’t want to risk adding to your darkness right now by sharing too much of my own. If you want the full story—want to take that more intense walk with me—reply to this email, and I can send you the original draft. But for now, suffice it to say that Saturday may well have been the worst day of my life. My nervous system has been locked in fight or flight ever since. It’s hardly surprising, then, that I’m sicker again—too sick to take care of my kids for now. That particular darkness and pain is familiar to some of you.
I found light again this morning, though, sitting by a creek. Reflected waterfalls of light trickled down the trunks of trees, and suddenly I could feel it—the light inside of me. I could feel that the most beautiful scenes always contain a mix of light and shadow. And I could feel again, to my core, that I want this life—with its darkness and its light.
In most moments since Saturday, the beauty around me has felt beyond reach. Perhaps the air still brushed against my skin, but I couldn’t feel it. Sitting by this creek and watching waterfalls of light, feeling poured back in.
These are the words that flowed along that wave of emotion: I want to live in this world. I want to live in this world, where honeysuckle wafts on the wind and black-chinned hummingbirds perch, still and small. This world where trees bend in every direction to reach toward the light. Where creeks reflect the sky so perfectly that you can forget which way is up and which way is down, until suddenly you find a fish swimming through the clouds.
I want to live in this world, where water bugs can hold you mesmerized, even though you don’t much care for bugs. But these bugs stretch their legs and hold perfectly still, then suddenly skate forward, casting circles outward across the water. And of course, I am casting circles, too, and you are casting circles, and some people cast circles with no regard for those who live in their wake, but that’s not how I want to live in this world.
I want to live in this world and cast circles whose ridges reflect the light. If I could conjure any circle right now, I would choose this: I would reach out from within my darkness to acknowledge yours. I would pour out the light that is in me so that it flows your way, connecting with the light that is in you. I know long Covid sucks. I know life is sometimes really hard. I know many of you are living with darkness right now, and I know some of you ask yourselves whether you want to live in this world. Stay. Please stay. We need you. There are circles that only you can cast.
What darkness can we help you to hold? What flickers of light would you like to share?