crossroads part 1 of 3

2019 is hours away from it’s end. For a great many, that is a welcome event. We look to renew our hopes of a better year. We look to find our footing and balance, pick ourselves up, and dust off the dirt. With another year behind us, we start to wonder if the trail we have followed is longer than the trail ahead.

As I contemplate my own path forward and make peace with my past, I have found a few things to say on the matter. So, here is the first of three installments I am writing today as I continue my convalescence. The first is looking back. The second is about being here, being present, and can be summed up with 3 simple words spoken by Holly, the woman in the story I am reposting for the 2nd installment today. Those words are, life is love. The 3rd is predictably, looking forward. I have some music I wish to share as well. After all, life is better with a soundtrack. Wouldn’t you agree?

Hello Sunshine

When you spend enough time in darkness, it becomes familiar and even comforting in a strange way, like an old blanket. The irony being in the dark fog you are cold and lonely. I have spent a lifetime hiding in my own darkness, or running from it. Two years ago I reached a moment which could have easily been my last, but God had other plans. December 5th, 2017 was ground zero. Instead of my story ending there, December 6th became my first day of clarity, true clarity.

I finally recognized the patterns of my life, the destructive patterns that I kept repeating, unknowingly. I found a way to move forward. I found the light. I felt the sunshine break in to even the darkest corners of my soul. I found a way forward and purpose. Life isn’t meant to be easy. But, that is why we have each other. That is why we have God, and God has given me a new path.

You know, moving forward isn’t any easier than it used to be. When we try to change and grow, we face instant obstacles and challenges. we grow weary. I can honestly tell you, it is worth the effort. I am weary. I still have the demons chasing me and meddling with my honest effort. They will never be gone. That’s just the way it is. In the last two years, I have learned to recognize patterns and control those demons. I have amassed an arsenal of weapons and tools to fight my way forward. I keep them in my “tool box.” And I share my story so others can learn to fight back as well; so others can create their own tool box.

Looking back on this tough year, it is easy to focus on what went wrong. It is easy to fill my head with regret and let those demons catch me, let them take over again. Na, to hell with that. This year was the year I fought back. This was the year my friends and my family helped me stand back up. This has been the year I overcame the obstacles and did the hard work of moving forward. God sure does have a sense of irony. As December 5th, 2017 was my rock bottom moment, December 5th, 2019 was the day I finally had surgery to repair a collapsed disc and arthritis in my neck that has been progressively debilitating and painful for 5 years.

2019 was yet another moment, standing at the crossroads. How about you? Did you face down some demons this year? Did you beat them? Are you feeling like its a battle you must do alone? That isn’t true.


For my fellow depressives…

We face those battles together. From my own experience, I know if you are in that dark place it is hard to ask for help. Ask me. I have been where you are. It’s time to welcome the sunshine in.

As we look forward, consider this theme, We are all connected. In that thought, be kind. Make eye contact. Give hugs. Be light. Shine your light.

As promised, here is a song and a few thoughts on the album and artist, Western Stars by Bruce Springsteen, released in June.

Bruce Springsteen has long been one of my favorite musical artists and story tellers. He has spent 31 years trying to shed the destructive demons of his soul. What he has found, keep moving. Keep living. You can never really eliminate those demons but you can sure as hell keep them locked up or behind you so they can’t cause any more trouble.

About the album, “The common thread across Western Stars probably isn’t one that 25-year-old Springsteen could have convincingly explored: it’s about the winding down of time, the moments where decades of life experience have accumulated to little more than foggy memories of things that aren’t around anymore. It’s about mortality, it’s about the fear that goes with that. And it’s about the ability to find peace, beauty, and hope in the face of it.

Goodnight 2019

Hello Sunshine

“Had enough of heartbreak and pain
I had a little sweet spot for the rain
For the rain and skies of grey
Hello sunshine, won’t you stay?

You know I always liked my walking shoes
But you can get a little too fond of the blues
You walk too far, you walk away
Hello sunshine, won’t you stay?

You know I always loved a lonely town
Those empty streets, no one around
You fall in love with lonely, you end up that way
Hello sunshine, won’t you stay?

You know I always liked that empty road
No place to be and miles to go
But miles to go is miles away
Hello sunshine, won’t you stay?

And miles to go is miles away
Hello sunshine, won’t you stay?
Hello sunshine, won’t you stay?
Hello sunshine”

Christopher Carlson

StreetLights on Facebook

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