And I smiled. It was the most amazing thing.
– from There, I Might Find Peace
I once was caught in the blackest night. A starless sky hung over me. Not even the moon could light the way.
The cavernous great beyond swooped in to swallow me.
Shadows danced upon shadows. They tapped my wrist, my ankles, my hair. I swiped at them, finding only more of the empty dark.
“Phantoms, are you there?” I said.
A whisper reached my ear, barely discernible above the din of thunder and rain.
I grabbed whatever my fingers could wrap themselves around and flung it into the night. Leaves and gravel blasted back at me.
I tried to chase it all away, but I only drew it closer.
Not enough. Not enough. Not enough. Not enough, echoed in my head.
I stopped then. And I smiled…
The night was nothing but a looking glass, this endless dark my own eyes. It’s always me I’m afraid of in the end.
But it was also me who could bring back the stars.
I once traveled through a hot and barren land, all greys and rust. In this place, the trees remained forever gnarled and leafless. I’d long since forgotten the way the flowers looked in the rain.
The path I walked crumbled under my weight. I followed it’s twists through brambles and thirsty plains. Day in and day out, walking, working. I knew not where it led, but it didn’t matter. I thought only of proving myself a hero. See how tough I am?
When my legs buckled beneath me, I crawled. When I could no longer crawl, I pulled myself along with my hands.
Creeping over the parched earth, a flash of gold caught my eye. A locket on a broken chain glistened through a coat of dust.
Inside was a photograph. The face unmistakably my own.
And I smiled…This is no dystopia. This is me and my path. My path. My path.
Whether I am burned or emboldened is up to me. It’s so easy to forget this.
I turned to retrace my steps back to the inspiration that I once felt.
In the end, it’s always me I’m trying to prove myself to. But see how I’ve brought the lilies back?
I once sailed into a listless sea, where fickle winds taunted the ocean. She lay motionless beneath my boat.
The ocean held countless treasures in her depths from ships long ago stranded and wrecked in this very place. But the jewels and coins held no value here. She longed only for the life to flow through her again.
Hours passed. Days. A week or more. I’d lost count.
I frantically paced the deck, seeking a way out. I saw only miles and miles of unbroken water.
Unable to breathe in the stale and salty air or tolerate another moment of stasis, I dove into the sea in an attempt to escape. That’s when a creature, part dragon, part snake rose from the water. Nine heads towered above me speaking venomous words, tales of what never was and could never be.
Nine of my mouths on nine heads that wore my face snapped over me.
And I smiled…It’s always me who knows how to hurt me most, but there is love in me yet.
I smiled again and watched how it brought the currents back.
When you’re afraid, burned out, stuck, look deeper than the details of the situation. There are fears and beliefs beneath the surface that can show you how to find your way through. Here’s a hint: they’re usually about you.
Look at yourself with love as you do this, and smile compassion.
There’s no need to fear the fears or judge the judgments. You are worth caring about. Watch how it brings the stars back, the lilies and the currents.
It is the most amazing thing,
This was inspired by a little line that popped in my head about 2 years ago. I couldn’t get it out, so I wrote it down and later included it in a collection of poems and stories that grew from little lines, There, I Might Find Peace. Amazing what a little idea and a little smile can do.