“Darkness hovering Grasping everything it sees Void empty Absent life and absent dream…”
Darkness didn’t take long to stake its claim on me. I was still very much an impressionable kid when I was thrown into some horrifically adult situations that no one has any business being subjected to. I hadn’t even made it through elementary school before I was both sexually abused and introduced to pornography. I still have moments when, decades later and completely out of the blue, images from the first porn movie I ever saw will expose themselves in my head. They are burned in my memory, and I have had to make peace with the fact that these broken pieces will remain with me until I am gone from this earth. I wasn’t at all old enough to be aware of the effects these images, and the ones that I added on my own to my mental library over the years, would severely disable my ability to look at women without Darkness hovering over me, grasping at and distorting everything I saw. By the time I realized what was happening, the damage was already done, and I felt powerless to know how to stop it, much less reverse the damage. As I became a young adult, I was already slipping in and out of depression. It came to a head during the Great Depression of ’97, when I was unemployed, living with my folks, and barely able to get out of the house at all.
“Let there be…”
It was during this Great Depression that I was introduced through concentric circles of friends to a young woman named Nikki Laws.
“Angels toil and crack open scrolls of ancient dreams Countless worlds of his Brilliant stars and breath and stream…”
For reasons that I still have yet to completely fathom, Nikki took an interest in drawing me out of my house. She would invite me out to her youth group meetings, and afterwards we would go to a Denny’s or Bob Evans or somewhere for food, and she would ask me about what I was going through. I would tell her quite honestly about things. And, instead of running away in fear, she would sit there and ask more questions. After a few months or so of this, Nikki kissed me. Through my depression-induced fog, I realized that she wasn’t just a really cool person that I liked being around. There was something else that had sprouted up out of the ground. Nikki was an absolute angel to me, and she was instrumental in helping me process a lot of things and work my way out of the depression (at least to the point of being able to carry on living again). About a year and a half later, we were married. For years, I have tried to keep my eyes and my mind pure for my wife. However, despite my best efforts, the Darkness has always been close at hand, waiting seep out of the brokenness.
“Let there be…”
Nearly three years ago, while I was in the middle of losing a hundred pounds, I came to the staggering realization that I can change. It started with the diet, but I began to wonder if perhaps the Darkness could change, too. It took nearly a year after making that realization for me to actually find the courage to place my feet inside a therapist’s office to ask for help. I’ll never forget that day, because I couldn’t shake the feeling that I needed to walk in and ask this particular therapist. But truth be told, I was terrified. Please, God, surely not this therapist? She’s roughly my age. She’s a SHE, for crying out loud. This is a joke, right? But I felt compelled to. I had to. “Yes, child. This therapist.” I couldn’t not go in and talk to her.
“Where there is darkness Let there be light Where there is nothing Let there be light…”
It’s been about two years now that I’ve been facing my Darkness, slowly exposing it, bit by bit, to the light. There’s been a lot of change in me. I am not the same person I was when I first set foot in my therapist’s office. But there’s a lot of change yet to be made in me, too. The more Darkness that I shine the light on, the more I realize that there is yet more Darkness in me. To be honest, there are days that feel like the Darkness might still yet overwhelm me. This fight is taking a ridiculous amount of effort, and I still sometimes doubt that I have enough strength in me to see it through to the end. BUT… I keep fighting. I have seen enough victories in the past two years to have hope that I have not yet seen my last victory. My marriage is worth keeping up the fight for. My life is worth keeping up the fight for. So I steel myself for the next round. Darkness may have grasped a lot of time in my life… but I will not let it grasp Me. Let there be light…