One day, early in my journey and in the middle of a very ugly cry, I staggered up from the floor and stared hard into the bathroom mirror. I saw my face. I was so very tired and grief-stricken. I saw the red blotches on my skin and the mascara running wild and dark. But then I saw my eyes. And by some miracle, I saw they were still shining. I gripped the edge of the sink and leaned in close, inches from the glass. Yes, I confirmed, they were tired and wet, but they still shone with something other than grief. I saw me. I felt me.
Earlier this year I saw comedian Demetri Martin do standup. In one of his bits, he made a joke about how the worst thing someone can say to you when you are angry or upset is, “cheer up!”
Just cheer up! It’s so simple! Just go up with the cheer, don’t you see?
As humans we endure misfortune, pain, distress. And our lights, once so illuminating, begin to fade. Yet, we must remember that within darkness, in pain, in suffering we are acquiring the ability to ascertain the light, the moments of joy and life and beauty.
Sometimes life hurts. Sometimes life even hurts a lot. Sometimes it feels like everybody is on a fruitless journey towards happiness; like walking up a downward moving escalator, we never quite seem to make it to the top.