Farewell Darkness and Hello Light

on Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Claudia gave me this ...........um.......way back at the beginning of March but I am only now acknowledging it. What's my excuse? Well, there was this bear, see.......and you can read all about it here. Anyway, thanks very much Claudia, it is much appreciated.

"Friendship is a light in the darkness". I can really relate. I had a very serious bout with depression when I was at University and I remember how very suffocating it was. The world was all darkness, stifling darkness that you feel you would faint because there was no air. Then once, when it seemed that the darkness would stretch on forever, I asked a friend to just be with me for a weekend. No counseling, no analysis, no "why are you crying", no questions. Just tea and company. No judgment, only acceptance and friendship. Just a weekend but it meant the world to me. It was a sliver of light in my prison. It gave me back the sky. I could breathe and I could sleep. By that light, I climbed out of my pit. (for more details, here)

Wow. I hadn't meant to go that dark but every time I re-visit that episode of my life, its dark depths still is able to pull at me. But for now, let's stay out of the dark side. The point that was being made is that friendship is like alight in the darkness.

All this reminds me of a scene from the movie called "Farewell to the King" which also happens to be in my opinion one of the best movies ever filmed in Malaysia. Set in the dark days of World War Two and in the deep jungles of Borneo, it traces the story of an American deserter who somehow wins the trust of the native tribes in the jungle interior and becomes their "king". In this capacity, he tries to keep the war outside from reaching his people.

The scene I refer to comes towards the end of the movie when one of the protagonists, a British Officer, visits a captured Japanese Colonel. The Colonel had done everything to try to avoid defeat. He had been ruthless and took no prisoners. Later, cut-off and surrounded by enemy troops, he continued to lead his men to carry out attacks. When they ran out of food, they descended into madness and began to eat the flesh of their victims to keep going. However, as they continued to wander under the dark forest canopy, the noose grew tighter and in their desperation, so did their depravity.

Eventually, most were slaughtered in an ambush and now the Colonel was in custody and soon to be executed for his war crimes. The Colonel was all cleaned up and seemed to have recovered some of his former dignity. Even though he knew he was to be executed soon, he reached out and shook the British Officer's hand. It was this officer who had captured him. As he shook his hand he said, "Thank you for showing me the sky again".

At least, that is what I re-collect. We all need to see the sky. May we all always have someone to show us the sky.

29 comments:

Claire said...

Friends and really good pharmaceuticals too! (Well some of us who have brain problems from childhood traumas need the addition of chemicals I'm afraid)
LGS you are an uplifting blogpal, thanks.

Open Grove Claudia said...

I think love heals every ill. No one can convince me otherwise. The love from a friend can be almost more powerful than a romantic love. I'm delighted to be a bright spot for you!

Hey, I tagged you with the Make a Wish meme - just to get you in trouble again! ;)

citizen of the world said...

We all need reminding that the light is there, even when things seem very dark. Loved this post.

Baba Doodlius said...

Here's to the sky. It's cool cruising around up here!

Dr.John said...

And today a little bit of sky shows through in your blog.

Ruth W. said...

Yes, that darkness is very debilitating and I have experienced it most of my life. However, I have fell in love with God and life is much better now.

Molly said...

Friendship makes all the difference in life. We all need a few special connections to make sure we don't lose sight of the sky! glad you're friend was so understanding.......

Gina said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Gina said...

:) Yes, I guess emotions can be crafty beasts which, if entrusted with your mind and will, can reek havoc!!I've dealt with the monthly depression of PMS for years and see how the emotions can trigger a whole chain of thinking and actions which are contrary to the truth. Bloody emotions! hah I guess we have to appreciate the full spectrum of out feelings, to be grateful to be able to feel, but maintain understanding that they are transient and can be shifty little buggers!

Friends are wonderful to have and I think the Holy Spirit will nudge us towards each other so we are not alone, especially in those darker heavy times. It's amazing that in my depths my family or friends will call me/reach out. God Sees and loves you through them, right? :)

LGS, I always feel refreshed when I come here and appreciate your words and transparency. You are a comfort to your friends I am sure in the world and here on your blog.
Thank you, LGS!

Josie said...

LGS, I have experienced that depression too. I described it as being stuck in the mud at the bottom of the ocean, and not being able to see any light. So when you describe it similarly here, I realize I was not alone. Friendship and kindness really are important, aren't they?

Lone Grey Squirrel said...

claire,
I guess there are some cases where the pharmaceuticals are a great help but in others, we need to re-train our thought processes. The analogy is like catching a cold. Some of us are naturally prone to colds and benefit from having the medicine. But some of us have a faulty thought process so that every time it rains, we go out and get soaking wet and as a result catch a cold. In the latter case, we have to deal with the thought process first. In my case, my thought process was stuck on "if only....". If only I had done this or that or if only I hadn't. And it paralysed me from living. Thank you for your kind words. All of you are also points of light for me.

Lone Grey Squirrel said...

claudia,
Indeed, my thanks to you for being such a great blog friend. All we need is love. God's love most of all. Thanks for tagging me on the meme. Saves me from pondering what to post next!

cz,
Thanks. We all need a helping hand or a shoulder sometime. Someone to give us back the sky.

Lone Grey Squirrel said...

baba,
Good to see you here. Ah, it must be nice to have the wide expanse of the sky before you.


dr.john
thanks. That is such a nice thing to say.

Lone Grey Squirrel said...

ruth,
I am glad. In the end, there is no source of light greater than God's love. I have been healed by God both physically (I suffered from congenital scoliosis which was progressing badly) and mentally. For me, the latter was the greater miracle.

molly,
amen to that.

Lone Grey Squirrel said...

gina,
I have never really witnessed PMS close up. I hope that you have found ways to cope with it. Thanks for your kind and encouraging words. I am thankful and humbled that people find some thing helpful in my rambling thoughts.

josie,
"stuck in the mud on the bottom of the ocean" is a good way of describing it. It would be certainly dark and we would be unable to move. My imagery is more like being stuck in a pit in a dark, dank, humid and hot jungle. So hot and humid that it is suffocating. I think the ocean would be cooler .....but still can't breathe. Haha! (Haha added so that this comment won't be such a downer).

Janice Thomson said...

You have a wonderful blog Lgs and lots of compassionate and caring blogging friends - that's the one thing really good about the internet - it brings people together to help one another. One never knows when a kind word, or a funny one, might just change someone's day from dark to bright, from blah to cheery.
The stars still shine even though clouds may cover them for a short time. We need to keep this in mind in regards to both ourselves and others. So I say to you, star, glad to see you shining again - you brighten up our world.

meggie said...

Love is good for all of life's ills. Friendships is something very special, which can also work miracles.

Tai said...

It's that hand reaching out that can help pull us back.

Rob Hopcott said...

Friends are so important.

The big question about depression seems to me to be in identifying when one's life needs changing or when one's perception of life needs changing.

I have to confess, that's the question that defeats me.

Lone Grey Squirrel said...

janice,
as you do mine and many others. Thanks for the kind words.

meggie,
Really good friends can indeed be a blessing along life's journey.

Lone Grey Squirrel said...

tai,
yes, sometimes it feels as if someone has pulled you back from the edge of the precipice.

rob,
You are absolutely right. It is easier to take action to change the way one lives than to change the way one perceives life. The former may be as simple as acknowledging that lack of sleep is a problem and to change our sleeping habits. But when it is perception of life, we often can't see the problem or even the alternative. But anyway, depression seems a topic that is a long way away from your cheery blog! :)

Jocelyn said...

It is the hardest times of my life (really, the darkest) that continue to illuminate my current state. I wouldn't know how bright things are otherwise.

Lone Grey Squirrel said...

jocelyn,
I know what you mean exactly. It's the same with me. Our kooky humor grew up in that dark place, I believe.

oldmanlincoln said...

Very interesting post.

Abraham Lincoln in Brookville, Ohio

Rob Hopcott said...

LGS,

'depression seems a topic that is a long way away from your cheery blog!'

Trust me. I wouldn't lie. I'm a fiction writer :-)

Comedians and clowns are often the greatest depressives. The skill of their art is to conceal themselves and allow their characters their own (multiple) voices.

Odat said...

I'm so glad you found your sky and are here today to share your life with us. You have so much to give.
Thanks!
Peace

A Happy Downtowner said...

LGS, what a great post. I also reached out once but it didn't work. I ended up doing all the work alone :) well not really, the cat helped. Strange to think that my most solid rock in my life have been animals.

There is indeed light in the sky. Thank you for sharing a little bit more of you today.

Lone Grey Squirrel said...

abraham Lincoln,
Thanks for coming by. I have visited your blog before and I have even recommended it to Stumbledown members.

rob,
I totally concur. I find the phrase "the tears of a clown" to be very powerfully emotive.

Lone Grey Squirrel said...

odat,
I worry about a place like NYC. I understand the buildings there are so tall, it is hard to see the sky. Is that true?

downtowner,
Oh, animals are great companions and medically proven to be great for both mental and physical health ....e.g. lowers blood pressure. The cat did it for you and squirrels did it for me.

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