Finding light

Mill Stream Staff and Sammy Snyder

     As the end of 2018 creeps closer, we find ourselves dividing into two groups: one, the band of people who think that time is slipping through their fingers, and two, the group who believes that time moves like molasses.

     No matter what philosophy you follow, we often fall into the holiday tradition of self-reflection. At the end of each year, we look back and rejoice at the highs and feel the pain of the lows. We listen to our Top 100 songs playlist on Spotify and we relive the memories that accompany each song, we read journals that we kept and we look through pictures on our phones.

     It can be an enjoyable process, until we come across the bad memories – the darker parts of our lives that we would rather forget. These are the memories that make our hearts drop like stones, our eyes immediately teary and our days immediately cloudy. These were the times where we didn’t think we could go on, where we didn’t even think we could get out of bed in the morning. But we’re here. You’re here. You made it. The road to get here may have been filled with potholes, but you did it.

     As we reflect and inevitably come across our bad memories, we have to ask ourselves: How have I changed for the better?

     The thing about pain is that while it may feel like you’re carrying the weight of the world, it’s only temporary. That being said, eventually, we have to not only move on, but we have to move forward. We can’t let our bad memories define us – we need to find the light in the darkness.

     Keep in mind the fact that there is no single right way to recover. But, be mindful in the way that you go about it, because there are a few things you shouldn’t do.

     One: Don’t lie to yourself. Healing starts with you – you’re going to most effectively deal with the bad memories if you’re honest with yourself about it.

     Two: Don’t bottle up your feelings. If you’re still grieving, let out your emotions. Journal, talk to a counselor, talk to a friend or family member… anything to release the words you’ve kept inside for months.

     Three: Don’t become dominated by the bad memories or the things in your life that remind you of the bad memories. Find the experiences that make you feel the exact opposite – the things that make your eyes light up, the things that turn up the corners of your mouth, the things that make you happy. Grab on to them and refuse to let go.

     As we approach the end of another year, know that it’s possible to find the strength to pick yourself back up again. Whether that’s through faith, counseling, or conversations with your friends, healing is not impossible.

     You can’t move on without taking the first step to healing. Like a baby learns to walk, you learn to heal. You may stumble, but eventually, you’ll get there, and you will find strength in your weaknesses. It doesn’t matter how long it takes, as long as you don’t stop.