Today, even at this very moment, there are people struggling with hard issues and decisions. Perhaps they cannot face them. Perhaps they turn a blind eye to their realities. Perhaps the throes of depression keep them from rising up. Somewhere, today, there are people struggling with climbing out of darkness.
Robert Frost, the American poet, wrote a poem called “Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening.” The most memorable and oft-quoted lines, are at the end: “The woods are lovely, dark and deep, but I have promises to keep, And miles to go before I sleep, and miles to go before I sleep.”
Places of sadness and depression can be alluring…. “lovely, dark and deep.” People often get caught in them, unable or unwilling to break free of the trappings of painful solitude, lonely isolation or incapacitating seclusion. They find themselves “safe” there, for to emerge will be to fight the demons that have sent them there in the first place.
We meet these people every day, whether or not we realize the facts of their situations. In your own realm of experience, you will encounter someone who is in a dark place; they may be able to function at a minimal level, but their hearts are dark and their hopes are dashed. They see no way out of pain.
It’s tempting to stay in the lovely, dark and deep places. Emerging from them can be the most daunting experience fraught with setbacks, steps forward and more setbacks. The emotional energy one has to spend to break free of darkness is constant and often unbearable.
It’s tempting to give up and retreat back to the darkness.
People who reside in darkness do not live. They exist. They give in to the voices that tell them it’s not worth the struggle. They take it out on people they know and love. They berate themselves with anger turned inward. The darkness is all-consuming, never forgiving.
It’s frustrating for people who love them to try to break through the darkness. If you’ve ever lived in the darkness, even for a brief period of time, you understand that the one in darkness is the one who has to reach deep within to begin the long journey toward wholeness.
It is painful for loved ones to wait, to hope, to watch.
Will you pray today for people who are in trapped in the darkness? Will you pray that they reach the bottom of the pit and begin the long climb upward? They need your prayers and when they are ready to start the long journey home, they will need your support, your patience and your love.
I wish you could have known Mama and Papa Bear. They lived in the darkness for too many years. When they reached the bottom, however, they began the struggle to overcome the darkness and to emerge into the light again. They sought support and forgiveness. They gathered around them a circle of love from friends and family who helped them climb out.
It was the hardest and most painful journey of their lives. At the end, however, there was great joy and a renewed sense of living and being. Waiting for them were children and grandchildren, friends and other family who had prayed for this day.
Perhaps you will not see your prayer answered today. Perhaps it will take a long, long time. Will you pray anyway? Will you pray for the ones seduced by the night……”lovely, dark and deep?”
Will you pray that they emerge with miles to go before they sleep?