“Et lux in tenebris lucet”- and the light shineth in the darkness.
The struggle, laying like scattered gravel on the road. Moving carefully, I step through the infinite obstacles that make up my life. Each step different. Some are heavy, like marching through deep snow, others effortless, like steps in space.
The obstacles I have encountered in this life are immeasurable. They are subtle and obvious, small and large, and almost always unpredictable. They surround me, like the air I breathe, and they live in me, always waiting, and always slipping into the smoke-filled greys of my mind.
Living with both complex and traditional post-traumatic stress has been my struggle. It, like any other struggle is layered with fear, anxiety, and uncertainty. It is untouchable, but always present, and limitless.
The struggle is what walked me into that dark cave, a place of intense psychic isolation, and a place of infinite loneliness. Incredibly, living in this place for a time, this place where the struggle lives is where I was able to find myself. It was in the darkest moments, where the pain relented, with no end in sight that I learned to keep moving.
In that dark place where the struggle lives I was always blinded. I lost sight of the beauty that lived in me, and in others. I was in survival mode, and hyper focused on preserving what sanity I had left in my mind.
For as long as I can remember I saw my struggle as a burden, a scarlet letter of sorts, marking me as defective, a broken man. In my eyes being broken separated me from others, making me special in the darkest of ways. Today, I know this is the lie that lives in the heart of my suffering, and is the place where I will find my freedom.
My struggle is the gift. This struggle is the scarlet letter, but of a warrior, a human who chooses every minute of every day to look within and face the truth with brutal honesty. Seeing reality for what it is, not what it should be, or could be, or what I want it to be, but exactly what it is. Through the struggle I grow, I learn about me, all the parts of me with love and acceptance.
Surviving the struggle necessitates being mindful, and living connected to each moment, while letting go of expectations. This has always been a struggle for me, but when I get close, I am free in the most complete way.
Ultimately to be free I had to practice gratitude for the endless blessings that surrounded me, but that I rarely could see. I had to be patient, knowing that I control nothing in this world, and that things happen when and how they are supposed to. Most importantly I learned, the light that shines in the darkness lives in me, and I just needed to look within and listen.