Working My Way Out Of The Dark...
I sat in my car wondering what would happen if it tumbled off the bridge. It wasn't the first time I'd had this thought, or others even more frightening and calculated. I was in real trouble. The debate in my head, of whether to continue in this life or not, had been going on for months and I was exhausted. I was mentally, physically, and emotionally exhausted.
You know that saying about tying a knot in the end of your rope to keep hanging on? I had already been hanging on for too long and I knew no help was coming. Not because no one cared but, because no one knew. I had been using every ounce of strength to hide from everyone, just how far down into the darkness I had descended. I couldn't bear the thought of anyone knowing how near the edge I truly was, especially not my husband. He trusted me to keep everything running because he traveled so often for work. He trusted me to care for our two young boys and I could not let him know what was going on! "What if he wouldn't love me anymore?" "What if he felt he couldn't leave me alone with the boys, and had to skip gigs? How would we pay our bills...? The questions and the fear went on and on.
Totally irrational? Sure, but there was some history there too, going back to the birth of our older son. It had been a life-threatening situation and when it was over, there was a long time before he was able to stop treating me like a China doll, or something so fragile, I might break just walking to the kitchen. Plus, a struggling mind can seize a distorted thought and hold on like it’s the only piece of driftwood floating in the ocean. Rational was irrelevant because, when you’re that far down in the darkness, it can be almost impossible to find the light.
No one understood I was in trouble; a few people knew I’d been feeling down but I had hidden my truth so well that tying a knot in the end of my rope seemed pointless. I felt like the only person who could help me, was me. I had no idea how, but I knew I had to choose; I could help myself over the side of the bridge or I could help myself to start climbing out of the darkness.
I cried, I prayed, and I begged the Universe to send me a sign. Please, show me how I am supposed to do this? And each time, the images in my mind were the same, my boys. The only thing I knew for sure was that regardless of how shitty I felt, I couldn't let my battles with depression become their story. The idea of not being there for them was more than I could handle, and the thought of hearing them say their mother took her own life made my stomach contort into new waves of pain. I knew that somehow, I had to stay alive for them. I had to find my way back to the light.
“Please,” I begged again, “Show me how to do this, I need help!”
It’s a funny thing about the Universe, it will always answer and, while it’s usually not what we expect or likely even want, ultimately, it’s exactly what we need.
Enter the Savior... "A person I hardly knew, who barely knew I existed, and who sure as hell didn’t believe in any of the things, I held to be true." (Healing the Shattered)
"Happy Birthday Shari" the text said, and I thought to myself, “Um, thanks” I thought, while thinking, “why are you texting me?” because I knew the last thing I needed was another man hanging around. The hell I'd already been through with the Energy Vampire (Enter The Vampire) was a large part of why I was where I was, and I was definitely not interested in letting anyone new get close to me, ever again! “But…” the voice in my head reminded me, “you asked for this.” Hadn’t I just begged, pleaded, and implored the Universe for help? Even in my darkness, I knew full well that if you ask, you had better be prepared for the Universe to answer. I was not prepared.
I didn’t know him, but I did know “of” him. We had friends in common though we did not move in the same circles. Could a total stranger be precisely what I needed? I felt it was low risk since I didn’t really care what he thought of me and, if it went south, we’d never have to see each other again. This thought jangled around inside of me and suddenly, for the first time in my life, I felt free. I did not need to impress him or be charming. I could say what I wanted and, it didn’t matter if he agreed with me or not since I had next to nothing invested in this. I figured if he were really here to help me, great and if not, fine. I have often been mentored by men but really, I just assumed this would be nothing more than a brief exchange of messages and I was fine with that.
For him, his dad had recently passed, and though he did not believe in any kind of an afterlife, the notion that, as a medium, I may be able to connect with his father, was intriguing to him. I was intriguing to him. I was different from anyone else he knew but, in my current state, of literally hiding under my bed, I just didn’t have the energy to care. But he did. For whatever his reasons, he cared. He was kind, he listened, and he asked intelligent questions. He had zero prior knowledge of anything I believed or had experienced and still, he listened. He was patient and didn’t even balk when, in my easily triggered state, I bit off his head for an innocent comment which I took to be overly familiar.
A message here and there morphed into daily communication. Days blurred into weeks and months, and in him, I not only found a caring friend but the safest space in which to share my truest thoughts and feelings that I’d ever experienced. For the first time in my life, I found myself able to say what I honestly thought and felt. I didn’t care if it was cute or witty or even spelled correctly, I simply didn’t have the strength to be invested in that. As time went on and I got stronger, I came to believe, with every fiber of my being, that the Universe had indeed sent him to help me. Our conversation was something I could hold on to, a blank slate on which I wrote and wrote. Every single day, I stunned myself as the words poured out, taking years of pain and anguish with them. I shared things I’d not been able to tell another human being and our communication became like therapy, for both of us.
He was willing to learn more about my beliefs, to accept he didn’t have all the answers and stay open to the possibilities in which I wholeheartedly believed. And while there was never any judgement, he also never hesitated to push me to see things from another point of view. Our conversations became a journal, where I could use our dialog to work through traumas and sort out my thoughts. I got to know myself again and, more importantly, to like myself. Day by day, through the better part of a year, he continued to hold the light as I worked at pulling myself out of the dark.
Today I am the happiest I have been in years and though over time, circumstances moved us apart, I will forever be grateful my guides chose him to be my Savior, AND that he was willing to take on the challenge. While he never complained, I don’t think he had any idea what he was getting himself into when he wished me happy birthday all those years ago. He still bristles when I say he saved my life though we both know, I might not be here if not for him. He stepped in to Be The Life Raft and created a space for me to do the work needed to save myself, my marriage and my future.
The Universe always has a plan if we can bring ourselves to trust it. The Universe also seeks balance and, while I call him the Savior, he will likely tell you I saved his life right back but, that’s a story for another day. For now, know that you too can be a life raft! If there is someone in your life, for whom you can hold space, take the chance, make the call, or just say happy birthday. You just might save a life.
“What I understand now is that the Life, the Universe, the Divine, was using him to teach me, to help teach me to unleash the truth of my life, to unleash my own truth. And life does that so well you know, it uses other people to help us, if and when we are willing to be helped. And when we are willing to pay attention, and to listen and grow up and out, into the truth of ourselves, there will be Angels of Support, Guardians of Truth, trying to move us in the right direction.” ~Oprah Winfrey