Are you afraid of the dark? Probably not since you were a kid, right? What were you afraid of then? The Boogie Man? Monsters under the bed or in the closet? For me, it was Freddie Krueger and my porcelain dolls—those perpetually transfixed eyes are so creepy.
I had a breakthrough this weekend (having nothing to do with porcelain dolls. Don’t worry, I got over that a long time ago). In all seriousness, this past weekend I saw beyond the terrifying curtain that is the world, and I grasped what we are all here for. The most important thing on this earth, in this moment, is human connection. But the world is so often a dark place, and many of us—most of us—are still afraid of the dark. No…terrified. Which makes us terrified of each other. With fear comes walls, and with walls, we can’t connect.
We are far more terrified of the dark as grownups than we ever were as children. But it’s not the Boogie Man coming to get us. And now you know that (one, two) Freddie is not coming for you. So where does this fear actually stem from?
The best it can be defined is complete terror of the unknown.
In the dark, you can’t see. You feel powerless, stifled, claustrophobic, and alone. If there’s a stranger beside you, you can’t see what they might do, what their capabilities are, if they have a weapon or a gift. You don’t know what to expect. So you start flailing around, kicking and punching, preemptively fighting off any potential harm. Or you find a corner to curl up in, and you close yourself off. You don’t know exactly what you’re fighting against or who you’re hiding from—just the unknown. But what if we could know?
What if, instead of acting like scared children stumbling around in darkness, trying to protect ourselves from monsters we can’t immediately identify—what if we could see?
I’ll bet your solution as a kid was to turn on the light. (Or perhaps even sleep with a nightlight.) Light gives us our power back. It gives us information. It gives us so much possibility. It gives us warmth, safety, and community. It gives us life.
We still have the ability to turn on the light.
However, this light I’m talking about now comes from within. It’s figurative, but not intangible. It’s love, kindness, generosity, and tolerance. Each and every one of us is a vessel designed to hold light.
But what’s held inside of us, what fills us up, is a choice we make. You can choose to fill yourself with light and illuminate the darkness. Or you can fill yourself with other stuff and keep hiding in the corner (or even perpetuate the darkness). You can close yourself off, or you can let yourself shine.
If you and I would shine, allowing ourselves to be seen and to see others, and that light spread and other people started to do the same, how long would it take before all the darkness filled up with light?
Imagine if we poured light into our jobs, into our relationships, into our friendships and marriages, into our children, into our schools, neighbors, and media. Into our law enforcement and politics. What if we poured light into strangers??? It may sound New Agey, simplistic, idealistic, or even weird. But if you let those labels fall away and imagine this for what it is—it might be exactly what we need to find human connection.
Just to be able to see each other.