Friday, August 7, 2015

Confronting Darkness

There are some who are meant to look at and promote the light. There are others who are meant to face the darkness and shine a light on it, drawing it out of the shadows where it no longer has the power to hurt anyone. I am one of the latter.

My own life this go-around has been relatively easy. My parents are wonderful people who loved and protected me. I believe this has been important to my growth and personal story because it has given me the strength I needed to confront the darkness.

My empathic nature made me extremely aware of misery when it was near. I was often the champion of the underdog at school, defending people who could not or would not defend themselves when they were being bullied. I could not allow such darkness and negativity to go on around me without doing something about it.

After my family moved to South Carolina in the early 80's, I had the opportunity to volunteer with a camp that had been started to work with abused and neglected children. Some of the kids at the camp were not a whole lot younger that me at the time. (I was 16 the first year I volunteered.) For whatever reason, quite a few of the kids that week shared some of their personal stories with me. These kids had experienced so many things I could not imagine--abuse (some of it sexual), extreme poverty where they did not have enough to eat, parents in prison for violent crimes. I listened, and I loved them anyway. Even at that relatively young age, I had the strength to face and acknowledge there was ugliness in the world. I vowed to make it better.

This eventually led to getting a bachelor's degree in psychology and working several years in a group home with emotionally disturbed children--children who had severe behavior problems because of extreme abuse and neglect. This work was stressful and time-consuming. Change was slow as I helped these children unlock those experiences that caused them to act out. Again, I was able to look at the darkness and love them unconditionally.

We are all bits and pieces of light and dark. Ignoring darkness does not make it go away, nor does it get any less potent. The best way I know to face and overcome it is to look at it head on and turn on your connection to unconditional love.

Love connects us to Source/God. Love connects us to each other. Love connects us to animals and even to Mother Earth. Unconditional love allows us to face the darkness and not become overwhelmed by it.

It is unconditional love that will save us all.


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