One of the things I loved most when I was younger (after I had gotten my drivers license) was taking long drives after the sun had gone down. There was just something about having your window down and the night air rushing in as you slowly drove along a country road. There truly is nothing quite like it. I lived about four miles from town at the time and would eagerly volunteer myself to run to the store or drive a friend somewhere. I always found such peace when driving at night.
As I got much older, the sense of calm I found within the darkness gradually started to change. I started to fear the dark. Maybe it was the many scary movies that I would watch where someone would be hiding behind a tree with an axe. Maybe it was the animals that would venture across the road when they felt it safe to do so, only to be met with their fate soon after. The dark started to hold a sense of anxiety, a sense of feeling something was in the dark that wanted to cause me harm. Or maybe it was the many tragedies I would face in life that grew me into a person that preferred to be surrounded by the light.
Darkness has a different meaning to each of us. Some of us embrace it. Some of us fear it. Some of us are somewhere in between depending on the circumstances we are currently facing. I found that, where at one time I embraced the dark roads, I now wish there were better lighting. I am scared of the unknown, the unseen bend in the road, or what could be waiting around the corner.
My mother, who passed just a few months ago was my light. When my road would become dark she was always there lighting a path so I would know which direction to go. I knew her passing would soon hit me, I was like a robot running on energizer batteries. So much had to be done, I just did not have time to…well, stop. Now I have slowed down my travels. I am no longer speeding down the road, all the while looking over my shoulder to see if anyone is following me or noticed that the pedal was to the floor. I wanted someone to tell me to slow down, someone to notice I was going to wreck very soon. No one did, they all thought I was a strong driver, no need to worry about me. Then one day, I hit a wall. I hit it hard. I stopped very abruptly. I crashed into the unknown, the darkness. I was crushed by the impact.
One day I woke up and realized, I was an orphan. Both my parents were gone (my father passed when I was 11 years old.) My best friend had just died, the one person who loved me unconditionally. The one person I could go to and talk about everything. The one person who always understood. Now I find myself surrounded by people, yet feeling so very alone. I went from laughing one moment, crying the next, to just feeling empty. Like I just died along with her. So much is happening in my life, so much I just need that one person to go to. Not someone to fix it, but someone to just hear me, to hold me, to be my strength when I cannot find my own.
I have drove into a darkness that I am struggling to find my way out of. There are no lines on the road, no street lights showing me which direction to go, no caution signs telling me this path is dangerous, no sign to tell me how many miles to the next crossroad, no stop light to tell me it is ok to move forward or to just proceed with caution, no side rails to keep me from veering off the road, no animal crossing to show me that I could possibly hurt something along my travels. There is just silence, dead silence. And darkness.
When you see someone driving in darkness, please be the headlights that light a path so they may find safety. Too easily we laugh at the person who forgot to turn their headlights on, we call them stupid. Or make a comment about the person who has a headlight out, they should probably fix that. Then what about the person who accidentally veers into the oncoming traffic lane? Sometimes what a person really needs is just someone to light the way so they know they are not traveling the road alone. Someone in darkness may not always find the words, fearing you may not understand what their heart is trying to say. They may know there are some subjects you do not want to discuss, even though it is their only way to shed light into the pain. They may know you will judge them for taking the wrong road, but the only way they can find their way back is to turn and travel back down it again until they come to a new crossroad. Healing is a journey of many dark roads. If you do not acknowledge the darkness, the darkness can overcome you. Sometimes, you just may not find your way out of it unless someone is willing to be your light when you cannot find your own.