By Kenneth Stepp
If you were raised going to church, like most of us in the south, you have heard the term darkness at some point. It never represents anything good in nature. Well. In other arenas in life, it sits alone as a very bad thing. Dark days are coming, those were dark times, I was totally in the dark, etc. You get what I’m saying. And light. Well. That’s it’s opposite. Light is seen as a combatant to darkness. As something needed to “win” against it. I’m single at an age when most are not. Something I would have never imagined myself to be. Single at this stage in my life. There are dark days. These are filled with wonderful memories. You’d think they wouldn’t be. But dark begins with wonderful. Go figure.
“Darkness cannot drive out darkness: only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate: only love can do that.”
― Martin Luther King Jr
Most days I work from home. It’s quiet here. I love my house. Built in 1968, all brick, an acre of land, a ranch, no stairs, in a very quiet and safe neighborhood, convenient to most everything. Just a wonderful place to be me. Some days as I sit thinking, my mind goes back to a magical time. I was a husband, father, businessman, and had standing in my community. Sounds nice, right? It is nice. Then my mind fills with memories of vacations, being a father to my kids, and a husband that was important to my now ex wife… Did you see the turn in the road? Regrets will always be a part of life. But when a lifestyle is your entire world, your purpose, why you exist is no longer there. You are left with a huge void. One not easily filled. Some impossible. We overcome this or we become one of three things. Hard hearted, defeated, or indifferent. Indifference is scary and permanent.
“The opposite of love is not hate, it’s indifference. The opposite of art is not ugliness, it’s indifference. The opposite of faith is not heresy, it’s indifference. And the opposite of life is not death, it’s indifference.”
― Elie Wiesel
First I should unwrap why I believe indifference is such a bad place to be. Imagine you are on a train. There are several stops before you arrive where you want to be. Hard hearted is a town we almost always pass through. For most, it’s a stage that guards and guides our heart past some very hurtful things. A must stop on this tour. Then the tiny town of defeated. If you have been single and dating any amount of time at all. You visited this place and were glad to leave it. Back on the train, that whistle blowing, and a cross track is coming up. The lever can take you to being someone that overcomes, licks your wounds and heals. Or depending on what direction the lever sends you. The gloomy town of indifference will be coming into view. Now would be a great time to practice jumping off a train. Once in Indifference. You become self centered, self loathing, and self indulging. All at anyone’s expense. It’s an ugly existence.
“…some people coddle their own afflictions the way others spoil small pedigreed dogs with cans of pate.”
I’ve met my share of people stuck there. It’s a dark place with fake light. It has an entrance with no exits. Avoid this town at all cost. I’ve never been to this place. I hope I never do. I believe going there happens when we begin to feel that we have been hurt by everyone so no one matters. Only me. I can’t think of any other way one winds up there. Narcissism sets in and it becomes permanent. I hope this never happens to you. Overcoming requires accepting where we are. Accepting the people that care about us today, and accepting that regrets will always be there. But we accept and expect a better future. A future with love in it. This means we accept future scars, future confusion, and future imperfections in those around us. Love in us is the overcomer. Love is light. Love is our healer and the remedy we need. So open up those hearts and accept, expect, and receive…
“Have you ever been in love? Horrible isn’t it? It makes you so vulnerable. It opens your chest and it opens up your heart and it means that someone can get inside you and mess you up.”
― Neil Gaiman
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