Remember: Light Will Always Outshine The Darkness

I’ve watched over the last several years as the chaos in this world continues to escalate at such an alarming rate. Indeed, the righteous can no longer ignore it. Ignoring it would be the same as giving up. Someone close to me who knows that I have a mental illness that is progressively getting worse suggested that I don’t dwell on the state of the world. She said, “Satan’s time is now, and he is having the time of his life.” I thought this over, as I was unwilling not to pay attention to the state of the world. I pondered what my response would be (we were texting), and all I could think was, ‘What if I did stop paying attention?’ Surely my mental state would improve if I didn’t allow my mind the bombardment of the world’s negativity.

After careful thought, I responded, “The state of the world and what is going on in it is critical to me. I want to, and I believe my purpose is to make a difference in the world. I can’t think of any other reason I would’ve made it through everything I have if there wasn’t some purpose for me to be here. I also find encouragement from many of the podcasts I listen to, although I know that the news is very dark. Still, it is comforting to know people are fighting for righteous causes and to feel connected with them.”

I continued, saying, “I believe we all have our part to play – for good or ill – in today’s world. It is precisely knowing what is going on in the world that lets you know just how important it is to be on the right side in today’s society. Hiding from the realities of the world isn’t going to make it any less painful when it sneaks up, finds you, and bites you on the backside.”

I finished, saying, “There is no hiding from the consequences of not doing everything we can to fight the evil that is taking over our world.”

She responded, and I will keep my sharing of her words to a minimum because they are her words, not mine. Yet still, some are very important to why I’m sharing this. She said that she agreed, and that is why we struggle to live. To make a difference by leading those who are in darkness into the light. She then said she believed the second coming is upon us, and many will need help during these dark times.

She then said something that struck me. It struck me for two reasons. First, they are very profound and true words. But second, because I have recently been reliving the first – and worst – 10 years of a more than two-decade struggle with a severe and debilitating mental illness: paranoid schizophrenia. The worst of it, those first 10 years—indeed, the first five—were the worst but are behind me. I don’t think of those five or 10 years very often anymore—they are in my past, and I have struggles I still go through today. Even though they are nothing compared to those earlier years, they are my struggles today.

But lately, I have been undergoing the painful task of reading through all my past writings. It was mostly poetry, and I have been attempting to decide if any of it is suitable for sharing on this blog. I hoped it might help bring someone familiar with the worst despair that this mental illness has to offer hope or peace. But in rereading these old writings, it was like revisiting those dark years. And in doing so, I was made aware of how true what my friend said was that struck me so profoundly.

She said, “No amount of darkness can put out light. Light puts out darkness.” I found these words so profound to what I have been going through in my life right now. These past two years, my mental illness has been beginning to retake hold. So once these words hit me, I stopped and drank them in. I thanked her for her kind words and for reaching out. It hit me hard as I revisited my old traumas, saw some of those same issues with darkness and light, and saw them interchange with each other again.

Many of my old writings often touched on those two concepts, darkness and light, and how they are associated with good and evil, or despair and joy. I spent most of my life back then in darkness. It plagued me. I was in constant, continuous distress that, after several years, I began to find relief from it with two treatments. First was an ever-evolving medication regimen that, over time, has transformed my life. But there was a second, and I believe equally important, therapy I found at the time. That was when I rekindled a love of mine from the past. It was from before my illness ever took effect back in high school. It was writing, and poetry in particular.

My writing wasn’t very good early on. Indeed, I am still trying to improve it. Still, I had a unique ability to describe pain in the written word. The few people I trusted with sharing my writings encouraged me to write more. The more I wrote, the more it helped me vent what I was feeling in ways I never could in therapy. It was almost like writing in a diary, and so it seems it was just that, as I revisit those dark days by diving into those old poems. As I said, I have picked some of the better poems I wrote, a lot of them needed some polishing up, and I have posted many of them to my blog. And I still haven’t gotten through all the titles with the letter B, going alphabetically.

It has been a surreal process, realizing and finding written evidence in just how far I’ve come. I think the Lord blessed me to undertake this right now as my sanity is starting to slip again. Diving into the past and re-reading through these old writings, it’s given me perspective. I’ve realized that even with my mental state deteriorating, that I am so far from where I was, I don’t think there’s any chance of going back there.

But again, my dear friend’s words. “No amount of darkness can put out light. Light puts out darkness.” I have been contemplating these words for the last hours. After living in darkness for the better part of a decade, it made me think, the light was never extinguished. When the conditions needed to turn the light back on had all transpired, it flooded through the darkness and put it out. Even now, with things getting dark again, I am aware the light is there. The world is getting dark too, yet still, the light is there. Our Lord is that Light, and those who fight for it continue to spread it. The Lord’s light can never be put out, he gifted our world with it in the beginning, and His Light is inextinguishable.

Right now, it is a fight between light and dark, that good and evil, despair and joy. In the end, only one will win, and I take comfort in those words of my friend that I find so much truth in: “No amount of darkness can put out light. Light puts out darkness.”

When you leave a room and turn off the lights, the darkness doesn’t extinguish the light; it was you who turned off the light. When you flip the switch again, truly, the light puts out the darkness. Light cures darkness, good extinguishes evil, joy cuts off despair. Light will always outshine darkness if those of us remain to turn back on the light.

So, even though I couldn’t fully explain it at the time, I think I can now. That’s why I pay attention to what’s going on in the world, even if the darkness feeds my despair. After all, darkness and despair are from the same source, the evil one who is, as my friend put it, “having the time of his life.” There must be those of us out there willing to keep turning the light back on because the evil in this world is doing its best to put it out. We must remind darkness: We put you out, you don’t put us out.