I don’t like to be scared. I’ve never cared for scary movies or spook houses. I never understood the appeal of having someone jump out of the dark at you while wearing a frightening mask. Some people love this kind of thing. I don’t. Some spook houses have a room or hallway that is designed to put you in absolute darkness. It is terrifying because you can’t see what’s coming. The only way to conquer the darkness is to wait it out or to keep walking till you get to the light. What keeps you from going crazy with fear is knowing that eventually you’ll get out of the darkness and the night will return to normal.
Life can be like a dark room in a spook house. You can find yourself in a place of darkness. Suddenly, you can’t understand what’s happening and even worse you can’t see what’s going to happen next. An emotional “dark room” can be terrifying. To handle it you attempt to shore up your courage with the hope that light will return, things will get better, and hopefully, life will return to normal.
Struggling with the dark has been one of the more difficult parts of my wife’s and my experience with cancer. Our lives were changed dramatically without warning and we struggled to make sense of it all, kind of like having the lights go off. The darkness increased as we faced the complication of medical treatments, the resultant body pain, the loss of control of time, and the steady stream of medical bills kept coming at us. We fought to keep a positive attitude.
One of the worst aspects of “the dark” is the waiting. As a friend of mine, whose wife is also struggling with cancer shared with me;
The whole process is taxing on my wife. It is all the waiting. Every time we see one doctor, we have to wait another week or two until we see the next one. This weighs on us knowing that she has cancer inside her. The surgery is still probably at least 3-4 weeks out.
I feel his pain. Been there, done that, and we have that cancer t-shirt.
Maybe you’re in the dark right now. Maybe you are facing:
- The terror of a job loss.
- The fear of ballooning debt.
- The fright of a health crisis.
- The panic of a child that is on drugs.
- The apprehension of a spouse who is threatening to leave.
What can you do? You don’t have a lot of choices.
One, you can curl up in a fetal position and cry in the dark. You can whine incessantly about how unfair life is, and how God has failed you. Of course, that will change nothing except to shorten the list of friends who will take your phone calls.
Two, you can choose to shore up your courage and keep on walking. You can choose to believe that God is good, life is worth living even in times of struggle, and that eventually the darkness will end. You can put a smile on your face as you make the inner determination that you will get through this with your integrity intact, and that the darkness will make you a better person when it is gone.
You can choose not to visit a spook house. You can’t always choose not to walk through emotional darkness, but you can choose how you get through it. Keep on walking. Keep on believing. Next year will be better. The darkness will eventually lift.
Leave me a comment about how you have dealt with the “dark rooms” of your life.