February 1, 1990 - the day I began my descent into darkness. For weeks I attempted to tread water, holding on to the Hope I had. But I let the Hope fade and I succumbed to the darkness as my lungs slowly filled with water and I drown. I floated down, down, down into hopelessness, carelessness and faithlessness. I buried the Truth so deep down inside of me only on rare occasions would a speck of Light break through my darkness. I liked the Dark. Or should I say, the Dark liked me. We fit well together. Cynicism and Doubt became my companions. They rarely left my side. The values and morals I once believed in escaped my soul and I was glad to see them go. I held nothing sacred. It was easier to not care about my self, my safety, my life. Nothing would ever bring the Light back. I didn't really care if it did come back. The Light had taken something away from me, something I couldn't replace... something I didn't want replaced.
Darkness made my choices all right. Acceptable. Normal. Darkness shadowed all the love others were trying to give. The good kind of love - not the kind of love I accepted, gave into, chased, hunted. Darkness said yes when Light said no. Not that I cared what Light said anymore, for Light let me down. Darkness applauded my choices when I knew Light would have been disappointed. But I didn't care. I didn't care. My new life was what it was. I had to accept that. I could only feel alive when the pain was bad enough. I had to make sure my heart beat so it was often that I inflicted my own pain. I loved to hurt. I must have - for my choices were painful. I still have the scars. I still feel the consequences. I regret. My pain made me alive, but really it was killing me.
I had the Truth buried somewhere and I knew it. But I shoved it down attempting to snuff it out for good. But the Truth prevailed even as I attempted to kill it. The Truth gave me things - good things, even as I was strangling it. The Truth chipped away and cracks formed. Tiny streams of Light shone through. I was given real love again. I was given hope. But still, I embraced the shadows and the Darkness. I continued in the dark.
September 11, 2001 - the day I began my ascent from the darkness. Unstoppable grief for people searching for their loved ones. Lives gone in an instant. It was something I witnessed first hand - life being lost in an instant - yet this time, its effect drove me to the Light. I woke up. I woke up. I woke up. I struggled for air. Gasping, I could breath. This pain this time was accompanied by Hope. I still hurt. I still felt the wounds, but I wanted them to close. I wanted the scars to fade. Although the ascent was instant, still 11 years later I deal with the consequences. Regret still haunts me. The journey has been beautiful, crushing and treacherous, but Hope accompanies me. Truth is my guide and Light is my constant companion.
This is a Redemption story. Redemption, the Truth, Hope, Light - that is Jesus Christ. I needed redemption even when I didn't want it. I was afforded the opportunities to make whatever choices my heart desired. I chose. I chose. I chose. The Truth never left me. Hope pursued me and Light took the time to chisel away. I had buried the Truth. Perhaps you never met the Truth. But Truth, Hope, Light pursues you. Stop and look carefully. Listen. Never far too far away.
I recognize Darkness. Cynicism and Doubt chase me, even sometimes catch me. I see Hopelessness in hollow eyes and I still feel the pain it inflicts. I remember. I remember. I remember. I feel it. I hurt as Hopelessness and Darkness imprison you. I remember. It is not Pity that I wish to throw at you, for Pity loves Darkness. I just want you to know I know. I remember. I have the scars to prove I've been there and as much as I hate them and wish they would disappear forever, they are to remind me and hopefully comfort you - the wounds will close. Those thick pink ribbons fade. I can't wait for your Redemption story.