To know hope, one must know hopelessness. The deeper the experience of hopelessness, the greater the possibility of a stronger, more significant hope. The fullness and power of joy and optimism are rooted in one’s willingness to embrace his or her shadow. Until we confront the nature and reality of our existence, the less likely we are to experience the fullness of all that life offers.
I invite you to take a moment and reflect on this poem written at a time when the hopelessness and worthlessness of life seemed beyond repair.
It is always sunset in my world . . .
. . . always sunset.
Never dawn, nor noonday sun . . .
. . . but always sunset.
As the sunset turns to dusk,
. . . I am captured by these mountain fortress walls,
which hide the light and tease the dawn.
And in this place my life unfolds –
. . . imprisoned by the shadow’s hold.
Sunset is never early, nor ever late,
in suits of blacks and grays ashen images come to life,
and mingle with faceless figures overcome by strife.
As light fades and dusk emerges,
the shadows grow,
and all becomes a drab mosaic of never dark and never light
This is the world in which I live . . . the never dark, but never light
Doubt, discouragement, fear, and pain,
hopelessness, helplessness, failure, and distain,
incompetence, isolation, rejection, and despair
accompany me everywhere . . .
. . . in this place of never dark, but never light
It is always sunset in my world.
Every morning filled with grief, each evening bringing no relief.
The masks I wear hide so well,
the ache that dwells within me here . . .
. . . in this world of never dark, but never light
It is always sunset in my world,
a place filled with lifeless swirls.
No God to brighten up my path,
No savior to rescue me from the Sacred’s wrath,
Only shadows in this cold dark place
Where faceless bodies congregate.
This is my world . . . of never dark, but never light.
And so I wonder . . .
. . . what might be for me, in this canyon of no glee
How might I move beyond these walls . . .
. . . to smell the birth of a morning dawn . . .
. . . or feel the light of the noonday sun?
I am no longer in this hopeless place, but I hold no illusions that I might not be there again someday. For today, like is good, and I experience contentment . . . and that is good enough. Tomorrow will take care of itself.However, for many of my clients, the darkness of hopelessness and fear overwhelm their lives and worlds. They see no end to the pain, and feel as though they are sinking into a cess pool of worthlessness and nothingness. When we talk, a big part of my role in the relationship is to hold hope for them. To let them know I believe in them, and that I will not leave them to face the struggle alone. I disclose to them my own experience of pain, as a way of uniting with them in their journey through the darkness and emptiness.
None of this is profound, or new, or earth-shattering. As participants in this movement we call humanistic-existentialism, we have each experienced those times of “never dark, but never light”. I offer this as just a simple reminder that among the people and situations you encounter today there will be many who are in need of someone to hold hope for them.
I encourage you to take a moment to do just that – to hold hope for them. I believe there is no greater gift we can offer
-- Steve Fehl