Fight For The Light

I found this passage scrolling through my Facebook feed and the tone resonated profoundly with me. These are not my words, but this is my share in hopes the following may be pause for reflection in your world, or you know someone for whom these words may help:

BITTERNESS

Dear Ones –

I’ve always loved this quote, from WOMEN WHO RUN WITH THE WOLVES, by Clarissa Pinkola Estés.

There is such deep truth in this statement — that all of us will have to choose at some point in our lives whether to become bitter or not. And she is right — the choice usually comes in middle age.

Why? Because if you have been around for three or four or five decades, the fact is — some really crappy things have probably happened to you…just by EXISTING.

You've been dumped; you've been lied to; you've been betrayed; you've been physically harmed; you've been disappointed; you've disappointed yourself; you've had people fail you and you have failed yourself; you've been fired; you've been discriminated against; you've been unfairly blamed; you've been taken for granted; you've been stricken with disease; you've been impoverished; you've lost the people you loved most in the world; you've been screwed and sued and abused and used... Clarissa Pinkola Estés

I don’t care who you are, or how pretty your life may look from the outside — after a certain number of years, it’s just a fact: some shit has gone seriously wrong for you.

But this is where the interesting part begins.

Because now you have choice.

What kind of a person are you going to be, from here on out?

What’s the rest of your life going to look like?

If you decide to become a bitter person, who could blame you? Chances are, you have a list of offenses as long as your arm to justify that choice. The world is a hellhole full of liars and scumbags, and you are its victim, and you can produce 87 reasons to prove it — and nobody can dispute your claims, because it’s all TRUE.

Or, you can become something else.

There are two kinds of happiness, after all. There is “innocent happiness,” and there is “weathered happiness.”

Innocent happiness is the sunshine happiness that comes (usually in youth) when nothing bad has ever happened to you. This is the easiest happiness there is. It’s the gift of not knowing better. It’s sweet and naive and blessed. It’s lovely and sugary…and guaranteed — eventually the world will beat it out of you.

After that, you have a choice. You can turn bitter, or you can embrace what I call “weathered happiness.” There is nothing naive about weathered happiness. It is fought for. (It is often even fought AGAINST.)

Fight For The Light

Here is how you earn weathered happiness — by fighting for the light, even when all signs points to darkness. You dig through your history with tweezers and you pull up every single scrap of evidence of goodness that has ever happened to you, and build a lifeboat for yourself out of that goodness.

Fight For The Light | Kathleen Blackwell | Photography by Mark Guerra | Styling by Leah Moon Fight For The Light | Kathleen Blackwell | Photography by Mark Guerra | Styling by Leah Moon

And there is goodness, when you stubbornly search for it.

You hold onto EVERY bit of evidence of grace that the world has ever demonstrated to you — no matter how small or glancing — and you build your new life upon it.

Every person who has ever shown you a kindness – you put them in your file of evidence. (Because even when you were being betrayed by everyone, you were not being betrayed by EVERYONE; there was someone, at some moment, who showed you a kindness…even if it was just for a day. Even if it was just for five minutes on the bus.)

Every act of generosity you ever received, or witnessed, or participated it — you file it away, and cling to it.

Every tiny bit of luck that ever happened to you — even if it’s just finding a penny on a sidewalk — you stuff it in your pocket and you say THANK YOU.

Every moment of beauty you ever got to see — you hoard it.

Most of all, you grab every scrap of evidence that life has MEANING. And if none of the standard paradigms of meaning (standardized religion, for instance) work for you — then you create your own damn meaning.

You take all this evidence of goodness, and you put it in your boat, and you sail that boat away into the LIGHT. Most of all, you absolutely and categorically refuse to become bitter, no matter what the hell WHAT. You leave that to others.

After all that has happened to you, you may say, “My innocence is gone. I will never be the same.”

That is true. You will never be the same

But it’s possible that you will be BETTER.

Up to you.

ONWARD,
LG