“Son, even a blind squirrel finds an acorn once in a while.”
My grandfather’s voice cut through the narcotic-laden mist in my mind. My walk through the darkness has scarred me. As I stumble through the inky, black halls of my life, I trip and fall. My heart and soul openly bleed, then it scabs over and awaits for the next series of bruises and cuts to be placed upon them.
“God, where are you?”
The narcotic cloud weighs heavily upon my eyes. Dazed, I continue to search for the one thing that has long eluded me, hope. Perhaps, I can find it in a new bottle of whiskey. After emptying the contents of the bottle, all I find is a hangover and thirst. Maybe hope is hiding in solitude. Shutting myself off from the influence of friends and family, I search for some semblance of hope and restoration. Nope. Hope is not to be found in solitude.
“God, why did you leave me? Why can’t I find my way out of this?”
As a soldier, we are taught to utilize our night vision. The instructors place us in a dark room and tell us to shut our eyes for thirty seconds. Then we open our eyes. Viola! Our eyes have become accustomed to the darkness. Searching desperately for hope, I force myself to stand still.
“Close your eyes….”
Forcing myself to take a deep breath, I close my eyes. I listen for any sound that may signal an exit, there is none. Silence engulfs me.
“One thousand one….One thousand two….”
Slowly, I count to thirty. Upon my completion of thirty seconds, I open my eyes. To my surprise it seems that a layer of darkness has been removed, I can make out the walls that I keep walking into. I reach out and I feel the texture of said walls. Carefully, I make my way down the hallway, still searching fruitlessly for hope.
“Hello? God? Why won’t you answer me?”
Even with my eyes accustomed to the inky darkness, I still stumble. As my medication starts to wear off, my head begins to pound. I try to ignore it, but when I do the pain becomes that much more unbearable. Bony fingers of pain seem to be trying to pull my skull open. Finally, I relent, and I swallow more narcotics. Once again, the heavy cloud of narcotics dims my vision.
I am lost in the darkness, once again I do not find what I am looking for. Forcing myself to stand still once again, I close my eyes and wait. Tears silently roll down my cheeks as I realize that hope is nowhere to be found.
“When you have done all you can to stand, stand.”
My pastor’s voice cuts through the fog of narcotics that has flooded my brain. Raw emotion causes me to choke up and I sob loudly. New tears follow the path of the ones that now stain my face. I feel nothing, but this memory stirs my remembrance of my childhood. In the darkness, this brief glimpse of hope radiates within me.