A dear friend once asked me this question: “What do you KNOW?” Not: What do you think?, What do you believe?, or What do you hope?
WHAT DO YOU KNOW?
Epiphanies tend to happen in the strangest of places, but they do usually happen when you have time to really concentrate. Mine occurred on an uneventful 8 hour drive to Albuquerque, New Mexico, several years ago.
It began with me rehashing in my mind, things that had occurred in my past, followed by the sudden horror of realizing the significance of my own fault in some of the worst incidents in my life. So much of what I had previously believed had happened TO me actually held elements of my own personal fault. (I’m not talking of the awful and unavoidable events that can befall a person, though no fault of their own. There ARE such things as accidents and human cruelty.)
Looking back, I should probably have pulled off the freeway at this point; the sudden evaporation of my life-long blame game caused a devastating thunderstorm of grief and guilt. The armor of blaming anything or anybody, other than myself, was ripped away from me and I felt as if I was bleeding to death.
The ME that went though this agonizing process was NOT the same ME that emerged from on the other side of it. If you have ever read C S Lewis’s ‘Voyage of the Dawn Treader,’ you might remember the part where Eustace turns back from being a dragon to being a human. This transformation was achieved with a lot of pain. Poor Eustace had to tear the dragon skin off of himself, in order to accomplish the change he needed. (In the book, the author has Aslan help Eustace finish the job, but, as I am the author of MY OWN story, I did it myself.)
The shock of this process was enormous; the fake world I had built around myself vanished and the truth was so brilliant that I couldn’t bear to look at it… so deep was my shame. I felt alone and abandoned on an ocean of tears.
If you’ve read the story, you’ll remember that Eustace was a very different boy after his experience. So was I. I was crushed and destroyed.
But a brand new sunrise was dawning after the darkness of that dreadful truth.
As I had been knocked down, so I was lifted up.
The air was clear and sweet like a morning after a storm, and the clouds in my mind shone with liquid silver edges, parting to reveal a sky more deeply blue than any I had ever seen before.
So soon after KNOWING my fault, I found my salvation; I finally KNEW that I was personally responsible for every good and noble thing I’d ever achieved. It wasn’t some far off god who’d done those things… It was ME.
All the joy and patience I had ever shown, all the good and selfless deeds I had ever done; they were my JEWELS. I had forged them myself, using the ancient magic of love. Pure, simple love.
Finally allowing myself to feel the joy of my own accomplishments allowed me to use the shame of my failures by fashioning them into a foundation on which I would build the new, authentic ME.
The light in me had been buried deep; under layers of people I thought I was. Even in the darkness, I could feel it burning, warming me from the core. Maybe it was God, I thought, or a higher purpose; the answer to Life, the universe and everything – but when I finally dug my way down to it – it was ME – my own bright spirit burning within me.
And I am more than enough for me.
Wendy Anne Darling, August 6th, 2017.