I know how it feels to look at the world and see it struggle, and I understand what it means to touch the earth and feel her pain. I too have trembled at the sight of the weapons and wars, the hunger, the hurt, the fear, and the frenzy.
I know what it’s like to turn on the news and find the dark face of despair staring back at me, and at times I’ve had to paddle wildly to avoid drowning in his gaze.
But I also know what promise looks like when it graces the morning sky with golden light, and I’ve beheld the beauty of a fresh bloom in the rain.
I’ve seen hope rise up like a spring from a once barren soul; and I’ve watched as newfound courage devoured the darkest of fears.
There’s no denying that this world is made of both shadow and light and is rife with both welcome and warning.
I’ve read both poetry and pain etched in lines across faces, and I’ve seen the glimmers of greatness and the shifting of shadows in their eyes. However far we may fall is also how high we may climb, and the degree of darkness below is equally matched by the brightness up high.
But I believe that we have this mysterious way of magnifying whatever we look at the most, as if we were mirrors to the world, like the moon whose face reflects the glow of the sun.
When we look at something intensely, that thing looks right back at us – and if we stare long enough, eventually it will devour us so completely that it ends up gazing back at itself through our own eyes.
This is why the world is beautiful to a person in love, and why there’s danger lurking everywhere to a person afraid. This is why you can glimpse a woman’s face in her lover’s eye, and why the top of a lake always reflects the afternoon sky.
And this is why I won’t succumb to the sadness and why I choose to stay centered in my soul – because if I am to gaze into something, I don’t want it to be those things that instill fear, frustration, separation, and strife.
If I am to become drunk on anything it will be inspiration, not these fabricated fights. If I am to dive so deep that there’s no coming back for air, let it be into an ocean of love and not the murky waters of man’s modern madness. And if I am to be devoured, let it be by the sensual song of earth’s creative soul rather than the recollection of her ruin.
I don’t deny that darkness exists – but I do deny that darkness the pleasure of extinguishing my light.
It’s not that I don’t see the newsreel spinning its violent images like a poisonous spider’s web across the world – it’s that I refuse to get caught in its sticky threads. I won’t be devoured by whatever great darkness is lurking above it all, waiting to spin its fingers of fear around those who stumble into its trap.
I won’t deny that these tragedies shatter my heart as if it were made of glass, but I also won’t remain fixed on that mess, continuously cutting myself on the broken pieces. If I am to be a mirror held up to this world, then I hope to reflect what’s whole rather than what’s broken.
I choose to reflect the beautiful things, like the sunlight glimmering on the morning dew. And I want to magnify the miracles, like the way that the grass giggles when it’s gently touched by the wind. If I amplify anything, let it be something sacred, like the subtle spark of divinity shining from the eyes of passersby.
I’m going to gaze into the light, regardless of what shadows may still lurk about, until that light gazes back at the world through my eyes, until it laughs through my parted lips and it shines from deep within my soul.
And perhaps then we will be one spark closer to collective change – to the kind that no one sees coming because little sparks seem so insignificant next to the depth of the night, the kind that starts slowly but eventually combusts and fills the world with much-needed light.
©2016 Cristen Rodgers
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