Posted in My thoughts

Shining light on someone else’s darkness

I wanted to share a story about two people I encountered on my travels recently.

I had just missed my bus on my way to school and I had to wait 30 minutes for the next one. In this time I encountered two people huddled together and sounded very upset and it was obvious that they were crying.

I overheard a part of the conversation that they had with a man who walked up who was concerned for them.  They talked in hushed tones for a minute or two. As the man turned to leave he said, “Don’t worry, it get’s better.”  The two were enraged and yelled back, that what he had said was the most insulting thing they had ever heard.

They continued to talk to each other and get more and more upset. Sobbing loudly.

One posed the question, “Is life even worth living?” and the other responded with a quick “No.”

I continued to observe them and it turns out that they were both crying about a lost loved one. They didn’t want to continue life without this person because it hurt too much.

I felt terrible for these two individuals, they reminded me of a younger version of myself.

I wanted to say something but I was nervous that I would make them worse after watching how upset they got after the man had commented.

I knew deep down that I had to say something, if I didn’t I knew that I would regret it. So I walked up to them and knelt down to where they were sitting and said: “I know life sucks for you now and you may never be the same. This is going to be the hardest time of your life but if you choose to see the light I am offering to you now and take my hand so you can step out of your dark place, maybe some day you will save the life of another who is in the same position,” I saw one of them on the verge of disagreeing as I quickly added, “I’m not asking you to be okay right now, I’m not asking you to be happy.  I’m just asking you to be as strong as you can, for the possibility that you may be someone’s only light in their darkest day.”

I saw something in that moment, it wasn’t a smile or a laugh but it was a flicker in their eyes. The flicker of hope, of purpose, of survival. I told them to try to find one thing to be happy about and then said that I hoped to see them again some day. I then walked away and left them to make their own decisions.

I don’t know what happened to them, I don’t know what effect I had on them but I know in my heart that I tried the best I could.

This whole situation got me thinking about how it feels when you are deeply sad and someone who is on the outside tries to offer up cliché quotes as a way of relating or making you feel better.

There are tons of clichés about being strong in moments of weakness, “It gets better!” and “Life is beautiful!” But in reality sometimes life just plain sucks for a while.

When you are at your lowest point and someone is in your face telling you cliché after cliché about being strong, it can drive you insane.  Even though they mean well and they really do care about you. They become this superior being in your mind that is telling you how crappy you are being and to just get over it.

Back in reality again, that’s not even true. Try seeing through someone else’s eyes for just a while, so that you can get rid of the clouds that are covering your own eyes. Find one good thing to look forward to, to get up in the morning for.  Anything at all.

If you give in to the bad stuff, it will consume you, poison your way of life and blind you to all other possibilities. You will retreat so deep in an imaginary hole that you think you can’t get out, you will  sit in that hole recounting how you got there and begging for someone to help you while clawing at anyone’s hand to shreds if they offer you their aid.

The reality is that there is no deep hole but if you really believe there is one then there is also a door, it’s just inches away from you right now and if you push your way through it, there’s a light that will fill the hole you dreamt up and show that its not half as bad as you once thought. The light will reveal that you can stand up and pull yourself out of that hole. You can choose to end the torture and pain you inflict on yourself.

That’s not saying that your pain will be gone but the difference will be that you will be able to get passed it, you will be able to stay out of the darkness of thehole and keep pushing through until your conquer that pain.

You can be stronger than the thing you are scared of. Whether it is a lost loved one, a fear, regret, pain or heartache.

You can do this.

Life is not about being stronger than everything and everyone else. It’s about being strong for yourself.  Keep yourself level headed and when you get knocked down. Always get back up.

You get one life, one chance; don’t spend it buried in a self-made hole.

Take charge, move forward, keep going, find your light and show the world that you will make it, no matter what.

I’m here and I’m rooting for you,

Jessica Maxwell


Lover of words, culinary enthusiast, mom to an adorable 5 year old, and changing the world for the better one day at a time.

Thoughts? Questions? Let me know!

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