This week’s Gauntlet story is written by a young woman who shines her light and the light of Jesus through her own deep pain. I’ve learned to move from the shadows of fear and despair into glistening hope by watching her faith endure. In our community of suffering we band together and whisper to one another,
“Don’t be downcast, soon the night will come,
When we can see the cool moon laughing in secret
Over the faint countryside,
And we rest, hand in hand.
Don’t be downcast, the time will soon come
When we can have rest. Our small crosses will stand
On the bright edge of the road together,
And rain fall, and snow fall,
And the winds come and go.
And so we seek the light, my Friend,
Silken threads glinting in the gloaming,
Woven into heartbeat, breath and tear,
Sweet Jesus, always, ever near.”–Herman Hesse
The Light Around Me
By Emily Dreyer
I woke at 2am with the left side of my spine, shoulder, and neck on fire. As I lay awake praying for the pain to calm, all my thoughts, doubts, and fears kept running themselves through my mind over and over again. Like some kind of horror movie that just won’t stop repeating itself, all I could feel and see was the pain of it all. I’ve found that even if you seem sane the day before, when it’s just you and your thoughts in the middle of the night it quickly becomes easy to question your sanity. Yet as I lay there I found my eyes were fixed on the cluster of glow-in-the-dark stars that I had stuck on my bedroom ceiling years ago. I couldn’t help but think about (as the saying goes) how “the darker the night the brighter the stars”. As I began to ponder this, I began to think about light and darkness. How does one stop the day from becoming night? How does one chase the shadows back into light? I do not know, and oh, how I wish I did. And though there may not be a way to remove myself from the darkness around me…I can still see the light.
I can see light reflecting off of my friends, the people I love. I can see the light shining through others even when they themselves cannot see it. I can see it struggling through a suffering friend who puts one foot in front of the other just to get through each day. I can see it radiating from another beloved soul even as she sits in the ICU while her daughter is in a coma nearby. I can see it shining off of a mom who can hardly take care of herself yet gives all of herself to care for her children. I can see it in the eyes of one who lost a child way too young after years of fighting for her life. I can see it through the smile of a doctor who is exhausted and discouraged yet who continues to fight. I can see the light all around.
What about when I can’t see the light in myself? Where do I turn when I can’t feel it piercing the darkness of my own pain? It is then I need to look to the light all around me. If you stare at the sun too long you’re left with bright spots in your squinting vision, and if you stay in the darkness too long it takes longer to adjust to the light when you see it. So maybe this is just a poor sort of analogy to some glow-in-the-dark stars on my ceiling. Or maybe it’s a way of acknowledging the darkness you are in, while taking note of and looking to the light around. It’s a way of realizing that anything that happens or has happened in the past, will be okay. Where the light is the darkness doesn’t really stand a chance. Where the Lord is the darkness will not prevail.
“I survived because the fire inside me burned brighter than the fire around me.” –Joshua Graham
About Emily in her own words:
I was diagnosed with Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome when I was 10 years old after two years of declining health and searching for answers. In the almost ten years since then I have had 22 neurosurgeries including a brain decompression, tethered spinal cord releases, numerous lumbar shunts, and cervical and thoracic spine fusions. I live in Michigan with my family, love to read and write, listen to music, and spend time outside. You can read more about my journey at http://www.carepages.com/carepages/EmilyDreyer
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Photography by Cindee Snider Re. Used with permission.