How does it feel to live without hope, or without believing in your dreams? Sometimes it is difficult to walk through darkness, a time of great difficulty and pain. Sometimes, hope dissipates, it vanishes after facing loss and disappointment, or grief and unexpected hurt.
I’m reigniting a tiny spark still breathing, a distant light that has not faded, as I move forward in spite of the many challenges I’ve faced over the past several years. It started with a feeling of change that spiraled into a dark space, as if I walked down a stairway leading into a tunnel. The entrance closed, the stairway lifted and there was no returning to a life I once knew.
But this dark, foreboding tunnel was not without light…
The ringing in the left side of my head and the pressure I still feel reminds me of the fear when a near fatal brain tumor landed me in the ICU. Ten months prior, I was struggling to recover from the death of a loved one. My grief was so tangible, I felt as though my soul no longer lived within me. My anguish was so deep, I felt the wish of death. And at that moment, with the sudden onset of physical, life threatening symptoms, I realized how close I had come to dying. At that moment fear of going through surgery to remove a large tumor was real…many thoughts raced through my mind. What IF my death wish came true? What IF the will to live wasn’t strong enough to keep me here?
I remember the fear that was also in the faces of my children. The quick actions of my daughter was life saving, but spiritually and mentally was I strong enough to undergo six hours of brain surgery and wake up to see them by my side?
The years preceding the brain tumor had been hard to work through. And the effects of the surgery were also life changing. I faced a long and difficult year of recovery. Then within a short period of time, I had to undergo breast surgery.
It wasn’t long before I realized how quickly my health was deteriorating. And along with this hope no longer beat within the walls of my chest. Unanswered questions lingered and my dreams had finally crumbled.
It seemed as though the storms were only growing darker, and once again without warning one morning I woke unable to stand on my feet.
Just a few months before this happened the revisions of my first book had been published, which gave me a tiny glimpse into a world I longed to renew. But once again, I was rushed to the hospital. This time it was to repair a broken hip.
After coming out of surgery tears flowed. I wept. I felt defeated, defenseless and unprepared. This time not only was my body broken, I was completely broken open to heartache never felt before.
I remember holding my hands to my heart begging, Mother Mary pray for me. Physically, emotionally and spiritually, I was depleted. I couldn’t take one more recovery or the pain seeping deeper and deeper into my heart and soul.
I remember feeling as though I would never fly again. Dreams shattered from life changing events I succumbed and hope disseminated into ashes. I felt as if I reached the finished line unfulfilled and without direction.
Where do I go from here, I prayed. Still, unanswered questions lingered and hopelessness covered the lens from which I viewed the future.
Alone. Deserted. Washed up upon the shores exhausted from fighting against the storms, struggling to make it through the night, struggling to hold on, I was simply swimming upstream against the currents. Currents that were pulling me under…
I’ve made it through years of abuse, and recovery from a marriage, which was a violent relationship. I remarried but after 15 years something inside me changed, changes that turned into divorce. I also survived a painful fight to save my son from his addictions – addictions to heroin, to a life on the streets. Until I finally learned to let go of something I couldn’t fix, a son I couldn’t save or the guilt I felt as his mother.
But parallel to this pain filled life, one that was threatening to break me forever was another side. One that was also life changing from lessons learned and LIGHT defining a path… if I would only follow.
I learned that when at my lowest to hold on to faith, and fervently pray with all my might.
I learned I had choices – to fight against, or to let go, and trust that in that moment God was within me. With each breath I took, God was holding me by the hand.
I learned fear is the greatest sin against LIFE, and LIGHT, and LOVE. And Love is the sweetest promise that heals the pain, and releases us from prison – the walls we perceive to be real.
It takes time to recover from trauma. And it takes strength and unknown courage to go through the dark night of the soul. But we must own our feelings and emotions and trust in a remarkable path that unfolds, if we are willing to take action.
Intuition and trusting our true (deep inner feelings) gives us courage during the winds of upheaval knowing… we must let go. Change is the nature of life. It is something we cannot control. There is a time when all we have is faith.
There is also the process and time of decay in our lives. It is what takes place for new growth to begin giving us a new way to live.
We have to let go of things, or people, or circumstances that prevent us from becoming who we really are.
I don’t know why the winds of change took me to places in which I faced unbelievable fear. Fear that lived deep inside me. Fear that imprisoned me…and fear that still lingers along side the new developing courage to move forward.
There is a “Vicki” inside each of us. At times, we feel victimized, a victim of our circumstances. We can choose to be her, the Vicki that feels safer in old, stagnant circumstances, or we can let go and let the winds of change lift us towards higher places and different shores. We may just find a more fulfilling life, a life unknown to us but one that is greater than our own vision.
Through all that happens to us, or against us, HOPE will resurface if we learn to breath deep, trust and reconnect to the Source of all living. Time will bring bright change from beautiful heartbreak. Through all of it… LIGHT will fill the spaces of our own inner darkness.
One step at a time.