How Hope Triumphs Over Despair
The art of staring despair in the face with a hopeful smile on your lips and welcoming it as an essential part of your human experience that is necessary for your growth.
This is the darkest hour. You are trapped in a fog so thick that light cannot penetrate. You see no way out. You are in crisis, in despair, and you know that no matter what happens, your life cannot be the way that it was. You feel like breaking down. You feel too weak to take another step. You begin to think you might die.
I know what that feels like because I’ve been there more than once. But the fact that I’ve been there before and may be there again someday tells me one thing, even when I’m plunged into darkness: I have seen light since. I escaped that dark moment and fell into joy. It’s not easy, but it is always possible.
We are promised few things in life, and we are only promised them for a short time. But those promises, truths you can rely on, are so basic and beautiful that we often take them for granted. Air, the sweet taste of water, good food, a moment of connection with a stranger or a lover or a friend. A hearty laugh, a cathartic cry, a warm blanket, the enveloping comfort of sleep. These simple pleasures are just around the corner, and no matter how basic, you always have something to be grateful for.
I know, in the depths of sorrow that it seems impossible to move under the heavy weight of everything you know crashing down upon you. But I beg you to move, even if it is just a millimeter, towards light. Relish the feeling of your breathing as it deepens and evens. Relish the light in the room, the air moving through it, the good things in your space whether it is accidental beauty, the brilliant design of human works, or just the presence of God, with you no matter what happens in this world.
Look for color. Look for light. Look for something kind that someone has done for you. In your memories, look for a second of happiness, a whisper of joy, a feather-light touch of goodness. I guarantee, no matter how much darkness you’ve lived in, you can find at least one grain of sugar in the bitter taste of this world. And as you look for it, it becomes easier to find.
Eventually you become a connoisseur of the joy this world has to offer, though it will take years of practice, and yes, just as many years of despair. You cannot find light without staring into the darkness deep enough that you’re able to start making out the true shape of the world around you. But it is not all sharp edges and stabbing threats of danger and sadness. There is softness and beauty at midnight, when the world is quiet and you feel you are alone.
Sometimes, tears are the only salt the world has to offer. Sometimes they’re the only way to clean yourself up when the world has dragged you through the dirt. So cry, then look up, and see with clean, new eyes, the love and joy of this world.