Sometimes you lay awake thinking about all of the things.
It’s 1am and your eyes snap open because your brain simply could not wait one more second to tell you: WHAT ABOUT THESE (MOSTLY IMAGINARY) PROBLEMS??
Had you thought about THOSE THINGS?
You kick the sheets, trying to kick the thoughts. No go.
Night follows night. You are no stranger to the darkness.
But then one night you lay awake thinking about none of the things. Ambivalence—the most insidious emotion—skewers its claws into your ribcage.
It’s too exhausting to care. What’s the point?
At 3:26am that night, just as you are finally drifting off to sleep, your three-year-old will come into the room because—well it doesn’t really matter why she *says* she comes in every night. The real reason is that she wants to know that she is not alone in this world and you really can’t blame her for that now, can you?
Or maybe there is another reason she comes in.
You watch, Soldier. Watch what happens.
After you stroke your daughter's cheek and tuck her back into bed, you will turn, and through the crack in the side of the room-darkening blinds, you will see it: the moon.
Its brilliance will cut through the night and illuminate your face and cause physical reactions within you.
You’ll gasp, step backwards, and drop down onto the side of the bed with awe.
When was the last time something has cut through the darkness like this?
The white on black, the crisp points of the crescent moon…it’s hard to get that type of clarity in camera.
It’s hard to get that type of clarity in life.
There. There in your moon-trance, you will hear it. You will finally hear what the moon has been trying to tell you all along.
It’s been trying to tell you this since the very first night that you landed here, but you haven’t had much time for things like moons, have you?
Moon doesn’t mind.
Moon says you were not ready to know then.
You are ready to know now.
Moon is beaming, “I know you think it is the dead of night right now, but that is only in your perception!”
Keep listening, Soldier. Moon’s message is not only metaphorical but very very literal.
Moon says, “I know it appears to you that the sun has stopped shining but Sun has NEVER stopped shining—NOT EVEN ONCE!!
‘In fact,” Moon is telling you, “Sun is shining RIGHT THIS VERY MINUTE! You do not see the sun from where you are standing so LOOK. I will show her to you!”
And then moon pushes the light of the sun from all the way around the other side of the earth directly to hit your face.
Moon is telling you the light is still accessible, even in the darkest of nights.
“Hold on just a little longer,” says Moon, “and you will not have to try so hard to see the light. In time you will be SWIMMING in it! That time is JUST AROUND THE CORNER. LOOK!”
When you receive this message, oh you-who-is-waking-up, you hug it in tight. Tuck it into your belly and wrap your knees and clavicles around it and hold onto it for dear life.
Because that’s what’s going to pull you out of this.
Six months ago, I noticed the moon.
That’s when it hit me: You will not get out of the darkness by laying on your back psycho-analyzing the darkness. You will get out of the darkness by catching more and more light.
You will not get out by asking, “how did I get here?” You will get out by asking, “What works?”
Light leads to more light. Did a little light of mine in footy pajamas not take me by the hand to show me the moon?
So I started looking for more moons: little slivers of light poking through dark moments.
One moon keeps leading to another.
Look around, Soldier. Where do you see moons?
YOUR “moon” may not be THE moon, per se. Maybe the thing that will remind you of your aliveness will be the high that comes after a long walk in the biting cold. Or the soft nose of a horse. Or the laugh of your niece. Or the courage of a seedling reaching towards the sun from a cup on your windowsill.
Whatever your “moon” is, WHEN YOU SEE A SLIVER OF LIGHT, YOU NOTICE IT. YOU HEAR ME, SOLDIER?
You pay attention to that thing that makes you feel good and alive.
That “moon” will take you to more light.
Which will take you to more light.
And one day soon—I am so sure of this—sooner than you can even imagine—you will belly-crawl onto that brighter shore, exhausted and gasping for air, and you will turn onto your back and sputter towards the sky, “By God, that night nearly killed me.”
But it will not kill you, dear Soldier.
Not if you let yourself be led by the light of the moons.