“Beauty deprived of its proper foils and adjuncts ceases to be enjoyed as beauty, just as light deprived of all shadows ceases to be enjoyed as light” – John Ruskin
I usually try to surmise my life experience of living with Myoclonus with this witty remark of walking through the valley of the shadow of death with just a flickering candle in hand to combat the swirling darkness trying so desperately to overwhelm me. To many, it defies comprehension especially when you juxtapose it with the developed economies where there is stability of power save for the disastrous after effects of a hurricane, blizzard or tornado just like the one witnessed a couple of days back. (One of the survivor’s son who was interviewed thanked God for making his mum quite nosy because a tree crashed down through her trailer in the exact spot where she had been seated some seconds ago……she stood up to go to the window after she saw a sheet of metal hurtling past her window!) However the light from my flickering candle drives me on through these challenging times.
It never ceases to fascinate me how weird the truth usually sounds – much wisdom is learned in the house of sorrows and the best time to number your friends is in the times of adversity. But regardless of how weird and creepy it comes across, there is always the exhilarating freshness of liberation in its wake. Nobody can understand the pain of your situation but people will always be drawn to your ability to smile despite your pain. I was having a conversation with a friend who had chosen to remain on her side of the road after my crossing even though she had largely prepared me for the crossing and it was amusing to hear her describe me as being ‘normal’ these days or for wont of a more appropriate comment ‘dealing with my demons’. Funny really because demons will always exist, why were they created if not to serve their purpose and so whether we choose to admit it from the perspective of a refusal to cross the road with someone or not, we all have to deal with the shadows because the shadows only exist with light.
It is much easier to appreciate the light when you have been in the shadows and whilst some might construe it literally, there are and will always be shadows that surround us and what an ignorant life to live when we deny the existence of these shadows. I have walked in the shadows of isolation, dearth of emotional support et al with the onset of this neurological disorder and it has further revealed and heightened the inadequacies we choose to comfort ourselves with when the shoe seems to be on the other person’s feet but I have learned that we can only give what we have. No natural disaster is going to imbue us with what we consistently choose not to have and so the differentiating factor is not being able to say that someone has finally dealt with their demons and so it is now safe to cross the road but being able to rightly discern the existence of the shadows and yet choose to be that whisper in the gloom urging another towards the light.
I may not have all the expertise in sharing my thoughts however I do what I can and choose to because I know that just by sharing my heart, I might be building a bridge over a chasm in someone’s world. Like the faint whisper of the spring breeze as it caresses all that lies in its path, so we can make a choice to be that positive influence in those fleeting seconds as we pass through the lives of others.
I was invited to a soccer game by my buddy and despite the fact that they lost the game by four points, I itched for the feel of running, kicking the ball, breaking out in sweat from the physical exertions of bodily exercise. I did none of that for obvious reasons but I did lend my stuttering voice to his team encouraging them to do more and guess what; it sucked that they lost but I was glad to have been a voice of encouragement. Now, many of us might have been content with just being a silent spectator but we can choose to do more than that. Make a difference in someone’s moment of dismay and discouragement, be a whisper in the shadows that surround someone else and be assured that in those few moments, you will put your own shadows at bay. Whilst your candlelight may be flickering, be daring enough to light that other candle that has just puttered out and in the space of those moments, bask in the warmth of the smile on that face in front of yours.
I will always be grateful for these challenging times because a whole new path has opened up before me, I have found love and support in seemingly hopeless times. I have been given a second chance to make a demand on life for what I know I deserve, I have shared in the pains and sufferings of many and have been privileged to do something beautiful amidst the ashes of smouldering dreams. I have learned that you can choose not to judge the actions of others because my circumstances have birthed a wider and clearer perspective and words mean nothing until they are translated into actions, no matter how little they are. I have chosen to enjoy the little moments that come my way not because I am unable to sleep but because I realize that it is a blessing being awake when most people are asleep. I choose to prayerfully assist others not because I expect miracles when I am prayed for but I understand better that the best times to give are when every fiber in your being is screaming to withhold even if it is just to alleviate some periods of pain and anguish to yourself.
As I awaken each day, I am thankful because I have a voice and be it a whisper or a full-throat roar of encouragement, I choose every day to set the shadows just a little bit away for myself by being a voice in someone’s shadows. I remind myself every passing day that it a duty to myself to ascertain and apply myself to my purpose for these times and regardless of how much I receive in return, my work is done and will still be.
Remember that life’s sorrows are but a birthing process that truly separates the bold and different from the rest of the pack. No two chances are ever the same so make a choice to make the best of today’s situation.
lמסתדר טוב עד שניפגש שוב בזמן שלו