It has been a minute since you’ve heard from me.
Where have I been?
I have been navigating desolation.
I am crawling through the desert at a snail’s pace. Sweating. Sand clinging to my clammy hands and knees. The grit is sticking between my fingers, grating my skin like sandpaper. My lips become more dry, cracked, and painful each time my palms and knees scrape across the searing sand. The only moisture comes from an aggravating, salty stream of sweat running from my drenched unruly mop of hair. My eyes are squinting, attempting to focus on the distant hazy beige horizon, longing for a lush, green, waterlogged oasis to reveal itself.
I have been grappling with the precipice.
My hands, fingers spread wide, searching for a solid piece of rock to grip. The muscles from my forearms to my shoulders and back quiver as I dangle, legs frantically swinging, searching for stable ground with my aching, raw, bare feet. The clamor of rock debris giving way with each touch from my outstretched toes and hitting the canyon floor below shatters my ears, dimmed only by the thunderous pounding of my ever-increasing heart rate.
I have relished a moment of serenity.
An immense blossoming grassland lies ahead, seemingly stretching on indefinitely. I inhale deeply and hold my breath for a moment, stretching my arms back until I feel the gentle pull of my chest muscles. I make some headway. The warm breeze caresses my face, and wisps of grass brush my bare legs as I push gently through the flourishing plateau. I glance back and see a narrow trail of trampled grass following me and look ahead at the undisturbed expanse welcoming me.
I have plunged into a spiraling nosedive.
My arms and legs are flailing in a frenzied bid to regain control. I clamp my eyes shut in a futile attempt to protect them from the harsh wind whipping my face. There is no harness, no canopy. There is, however, an obvious end. An impact so jarring my lungs scream for air. Every single muscle in my weary body finds the last bit of energy to tighten, bracing for the full force of the collision.
I have emerged a champion of myself.
Excitedly and with a twinge of apprehension, I set off into unmapped territory. Extending my arms toward the crisp blue sky, I feel the restoration of my strength and determination. Through a break in the clouds, the warm glow of the sun rushes down and fills my soul to overflowing with hope. I squint at its brightness before turning around and bidding farewell to the turbulent sky riddled with dark and ominous clouds that threaten to follow me. Turning on my heel, I pause, steeping my entire body in the inviting warmth of sunshine, forgetting, in an instance, of the violent winds and torrential rains that have ravaged my body.
“Hope is like the sun, which, as we journey toward it, casts the shadow of our burden behind us” – Samuel Smiles