**TRIGGER WARNING** This grateful is an important one, but may be difficult for some people to hear. I’ve been going back and forth on whether or not to post this one. Most of the people in my life do not even know this event occurred. It will certainly be a shock. But, I feel like it is the one grateful that actually makes all of these other gratefuls possible. It is the reason they mean so much. So here it is …raw and honest. Brace yourselves. Here is one of my most brutul truths and, probably my most important grateful.
Today I am grateful to be alive.
Some moments stick out to us more than any other. Moments that are with filled with great joy or great sorrow. Some of these moments define the course of our futures in epic scale ways.(Sorry to be dramatic, but it is the truth). THE moment for me occurred one night a little over four years ago. This night stands out as my darkest. It was my rock bottom.
And, it was supposed to be my last.
Alone on Christmas night 2010, I was broken and beaten down, battle-worn and tired of trying. I didn’t believe the Light had a place for me in this world. Nothing mattered anymore. Life had taken away too much. I had lost my fight, my tenacity, my resilience. I had long believed I was a burden, a charity case, a mistake…someone worthless that was just taking up space and getting in the way of other people’s lives. In my darkness, I believed the world would be much better off without me. I thought my family and friends could simply sell all my stuff or divide it out. I thought I would eventually just fade from their memories until I became this shadow that kind of looked like this girl they thought they knew once upon a time. I believed even the Light, who is supposed to be Love, didn’t want me anymore.
I sat on my bathroom floor, shattered. My third bottle of wine for the night in one hand and a bottle of sleeping pills in the other. I was so tired of fighting and bleeding. I just wanted to sleep…indefinitely. I was lost and too far broken and believed the lies of the darkness… No one would miss me…it was better this way…I was doing the world a favor…I couldn’t stand back up again…I didn’t have any strength left…I didn’t matter….
I was wrong.
Though I couldn’t see it then, there was a plan in motion, a purpose for that moment and it wasn’t going to be my last. The Light had never left me(and never will). He was hovering at my edges ready to, quite literally, snatch me from death’s grip. I couldn’t hear Him. I couldn’t see Him or even feel Him. But, He was there, declaring to the darkness….“She is mine. She matters.”
The Light revealed Himself through a very ordinary sound. Through the fog of alcohol and pills, an ear splitting ring erupted from my coffee table in the living room. No one had called me all day until that moment. I stumbled in to find my dear friend Cathy’s name lit up on my phone’s screen as it screamed at me to answer, to reengage with life. Time stopped and I froze. I couldn’t answer it. I stared at the phone until it ceased its screaming and the voicemail notification dinged.
That’s when IT hit me…I didn’t know what IT was at that time. I couldn’t name IT. I couldn’t tell you why IT chose that particular moment to punch me in the guts, slap me across the face, jolt me from my darkness and not before. All I could comprehend in that still, raw moment was that suicide wasn’t the answer. Ending it wasn’t the solution.
I had to live.
Looking back, I know the IT was hope. An irrational spark of hope in the form of a voicemail that nailed me right at my core, so hard that I sprinted to bathroom and wretched out all my darkness into my bathtub. Wretched until I was completely empty…empty of wine and pills and death.
I know now, Light speaks through the language of hope. It’s how He teaches us Love. It’s how He tells us that we matter…every single one of us. It’s the soundtrack He writes our stories to. It’s how He reminds us that the darkness may last for a night, a night that might even bring us to the edge of death….but morning will always come and the morning belongs to Him…we belong to Him.
Hope is Real. I read that on a t-shirt yesterday (and of course, went online and bought myself one immediately). Those three words have never been more true or more precious, than they are to me on this side of that dark night. I would have hurt a lot of people that night if I hadn’t listened to that ordinary sound of hope screaming from my phone. I would have missed so many gratefuls. I would have missed out on healing and love and redemption. I would have missed how important my story is to the world and how important everyone else’s is, as well.
The “me” four years ago was not alone in the darkness like she thought. None of us are. She was overwhelmed and broken and weary, sure. But never alone. She’d just lost sight of hope. Thankfully, IT screamed at her from the coffee table and she listened.
The last four years have been an intense journey of healing for me through counseling and relationships that have been Light in the flesh for me, and I am grateful for every painful and wonderful day. I see things differently than I did before that night. I see myself, and others, in a completely different Light. I see beauty in scars. I recognize the possibility of redemption in even the most pain-filled stories. I find hope everywhere now. That darkest night was a turning point, and the first time I think I actually really heard the Light’s love song, written in the language of hope, just for me (and you). That darkest night was the beginning of my courage, and it was the beginning of a new chapter in my love story.
I believe now that what I found through hope on that darkest night was a gift. I found a very powerful kind of understanding, compassion and grace. The life-altering kind. The kind that declares to darkness, “She is mine. She matters.” The kind that can only be seen at dawn, after a long, dark night.
*** I know I’m not the only one out there who has struggled with this kind of darkness. Depression, Pain, Loneliness, Anxiety… these are all very real.
But so is hope.
I don’t know where you are, dear reader, in your journey right now. But if what I have written today hits a little too close to home, I want you to know that there is hope. There really is. It is very real. I am proof. Sometimes it comes in the sound of a screaming phone, sometimes in the touch of hand, sometimes in a whisper….but it is real.
Morning is coming. ***
NOTE: I didn’t know about this website four years ago. It is actually a recent discovery and where I just purchased my new Hope is Real t-shirt, but its a great resource for the things I’ve written about today. Their message and mission is an incredible one. Hope is Real. Rescue is Possible. You Matter. Please go check them out, whether you are in the darkness right now or on the other side of morning.
To Write Love on Her Arms