• Jason McCarty

Courage in the Face of Darkness

When we begin to step out and take more control over our lives, we will go through times that feel impossible. Making changes means wading into unchartered waters and then all of a sudden a storm hits! We hope things will just work out but life is more difficult than that. Often times we want to head back to shore where it’s safe. We want to fight what feels like complete failure and the fear that we will just drown.

Leaning forward into the unknown creates many feelings. We can often feel as though we are walking through a dark cave and cannot see. The more we want control and the ability to see, the more crazy it feels. It does and can feel very crazy. We gnash our teeth and curse the dark. We flail about. Sometimes these dark days of finding our way can feel like we are wreslting with our self esteem. Fear, anger, and frustration can all overwhelm us.

So what do we do? I don’t think there is anything to do but keep going. It won’t always be like this. But the only way forward is to keep moving forward. This is when we usually turn back to the same old patterns. This is when we retreat to safety and certainty. These dark days can feel like we are wrestling with a devil we’ve never met before. Everything is new and scary and all we want to do is flip out and scream.

This predicament is a very existential crisis of identity development. There are no great spiritual answers to make this process easier. We are developing a resolve that allows us momentum in falling forward into our lives. As much as we hate the feelings and the process, there is a part of us that knows it’s right. How come we never truly listen to that part? We always listen to the fear and the hesitation.

When we start listening to the deeper knowing, we develop more resolve. When we stare down the darkness and keep wrestling with ourselves, we become a person with the courage to be. Many of us have been led astray with the belief that following our dreams is pretty and automatic — that all just falls into place if you follow your heart. This is false. It’s hard, challenging, almost impossible feeling at times. I say “at times” because it’s not always like that. Other times we feel the inspiration, the drive, the energy. But we must embrace the dark days in the cave where we fight the uncertainty and where we fight ourselves. We are often shedding many previous feelings about who we were and that process is painful — but very necessary. A person will arise.

© 2020 by Jason McCarty, MA, CCC