When you stop to think about it, I’m not a very cheerful writer. I talk about my difficulties, my obstacles, the things that knock me to my knees. Those things are often front of mind because I know so many other people who struggle and are afraid to admit it. Or don’t know they can admit it. Or don’t think they have an acceptable outlet to admit it. I’m always on the lookout for those people to let them know, YES, there are battles. AND, yes, we can overcome them. Or at least get through them.
Last week, I had the privilege to speak to men at a church in a fairly small Texas town. A country town. An agricultural town. A man’s man town.
I talked about Job. I talked about struggles. I talked about some dark days I have been through. I assured them that we can look at Job’s life and know that one day things will be better. The wounds may not completely heal. The scars may not go away. One day things will be better. In this life or another but God will lead us through if we are faithful. That doesn’t mean perfect. In my darkest hours, I yell at God, furiously, with anger and say things I shouldn’t say. My darkness hurts. Bad. Yet, I get through it because I eventually remember that I am not in control of this messed up world and I simply need to look for a sliver of light in the moment.
Two men approached me after the lesson with the same message. “I don’t think I would have killed myself but I have faced a challenge that was so dark, I can now understand how someone could go there.”
Wow. These were two men’s men, show no weakness, pull yourself up by your bootstraps kind of men. At that moment, I was there outlet to say something they have never said to anyone else. Their outlet to let it go. Their outlet to be affirmed that darkness sometimes overwhelms us.
I’m sure some people get tired of listening to my darkness stories but some people need to know that there is someone out there who understands, who empathizes and has compassion for others who face darkness. I like to think of myself as an instrument of peace, a place where they can share hurt and find peace on the other side. I like to think that is how God uses me.
Next week will be some of my points from the lesson on Job. Nothing new. Nothing profound. Just simple thoughts from a simple brain that hopefully will help me always remember that there is light coming to take over darkness.
I am blessed. I have two incredible kids. I have the love of a remarkable woman. I have some incredible friends who I can share anything with who will pick me up and help hold me upright until I’m ready to walk on my own again. There is light in my darkness. Always has been. Always will be.
Grace and peace.