It’s easy in the daily hustle and bustle to forget that each of us lives in our own little universe and that how you or I perceive and react to an event might be entirely different to someone else. Even when that person’s close to you and you’ve known them for years, the inner world of people is a unique and remarkable thing. Except for sometimes, when the darkness overwhelms the light and they find themselves struggling without anyone even realizing there’s something going on.
Anyone who’s spent time in the world has had to learn that we are simultaneously surrounded by love and light and by anger and darkness. We humans have a tendency to react with fear, and fear begets insecurities, the two of them making a dangerous foundation that causes all sorts of terrible behaviors. Part of maturation is recognizing that both the good and bad co-exist and that each of us has a choice, to be an optimist and emphasize the good, see the bright side and live in the light, or be pulled into that terrible darkness and live in fear and pain.
I’ve seen each of my children wrestle with this duality in life, and while it’s tempting to try and create a bubble where they see no pain, no injustice, no hurt and are always happy and safe, that’s just not the bigger world. Into every life, young and old, that proverbial rain must fall. Survival comes from us learning to count on each other, on realizing that we have the choice of deciding who we want to spend time with and what behaviors we want to encourage and celebrate in our friends and family.
Are people flawed? Absolutely. We all are. If your requirement is perfect, you will live a very lonely life. Living in the light doesn’t mean you ignore the darkness of people, but try to help improve them – and yourself – while trying to maximize the good and minimize the bad. Forgiveness is a good addition here too.
Helping others find the light even as you might struggle and need assistance too? That’s very much the stuff of being a real human, a good person, in my eyes.
And so my young friend. He had a tough journey through adolescence. Tragically, it all became too much for him this week and he reacted by taking his own life. A young man with so much potential, so many opportunities in front of him, but a young man also oppressed and finally overcome by the growing clouds of darkness that defined and dominated his inner world. A life cut short and the rest of us left to weep and lament that he just needed to reach out…
But perhaps that’s the hardest thing for us to do after all; just ask for help.
I miss my friend already and there’ll always be a spot in my heart for him. I just hope he’s found the light he so desperately sought and is basking in the sunlight, finally at peace.