When the world gets close and mean and hard, hope is what gets us through. Without hope, we succumb to depression, have the urge to curl up and crawl into an even darker hole. If we can’t envision a way out, then we stay and die, either slowly and metaphorically in a life of quiet desperation, or in an ultimate surrender to the abyss. Darkness will win if we let it.
We battle the darkness with hope, and the struggle becomes most important when it is the most intense. When the rough patch appears to be endless and all we see are hard times ahead, that is when we must stand up and fight the hardest. A man without hope is already dead.
There is no easy solution, no silver bullet. The path will be different for each person, but there are some things that will be universal. To feel hope, we must acknowledge it and seek it out. By focusing on what is good and true light rather than the evil and dark. Desperation and depression can have a gravity all their own, can pull in our will to survive and ability to smile with the force of a black hole, sucking all that is decent from our world. But if we battle the darkness, we can overcome it.
Connectivity is vital. We must feel connected to the people and the world around us. If we focus more on the real love we feel for others, and for the love reflected back upon us, we are less likely to feel isolated, alone, abandoned. Committing a random act of kindness for another helps, too. I stopped the other day on the interstate and helped a family whose car had broken down. It turned my bleak mood around.
Faith moves mountains. I believe in God, and I lean on Him. But for those who do not believe in a higher power, faith in loved ones, faith in humanity, faith in self are better than believing in nothing. When I find my faith faltering, I know I’m losing hope and darkness is winning. I try to regain my faith through prayer, interaction with others, and time outdoors. A walk in the woods or a stroll by the ocean can help me to feel restored.
Life is hard, too short, and often not fair. But it can be beautiful, too. I try to remember that when things get the hardest. I often don’t take my own advice, because knowing a thing and acting upon it are two very different things. But in the end, light is more powerful than darkness; light can always penetrate, defeat, and banish it. I am doing my best to look for it, and to be a light myself, lest the darkness consume me.