"And it's hard to dance with a devil on your back. And given half the chance would I take any of it back. Its a fine romance but its left me so undone. It's always darkest before dawn."
"Shake it Out" by Florence and the Machine is one of my favorite songs. Whether I'm feeling down or good, it reminds me that no matter what is going on at the moment, things will always get better.
For me, dawn is finally breaking and the darkness is fading away. My darkness stayed for so long I wasn't sure if my dawn would ever come, but now that is has I have a whole new appreciation for everything I've been through the last four years.
Fall 2012 is when the dark decided to start consuming my life. I lost my grandma to cancer, almost failed my first semester, lost a friend to drunk driving, and battled with depression. I was wandering aimlessly through my college career. I was making good grades, working, and going on a few fun trips but deep down I knew something was missing.
The darkness seemed to spread rapidly and I didn't know how to stop it. While the light managed to seep through at times, the dark just kept spreading and getting darker until one day I realized I didn't feel any zest for life; I was just going through the motions. I had lost myself somewhere along the way. I forgot my values, my faith, and my worth. I knew I wasn't happy, I wasn't where I needed to be in life and I didn't know what to do about it. I was looking for happiness in all the wrong places.
Unfortunately, it took a terrible accident to open my eyes to the dawn. When my younger cousin -- he was 11 at the time -- almost died from an accidental gunshot wound to the head, my eyes were opened to the light. This was a tough time for my family because it was just so unexpected and the doctors didn't give us much hope to work with. I like to call my cousin the sunshine of our family because he had such a silly and talkative personality, he always made us laugh. I use past tense, because while he has made a miraculous recovery and he still has a good bit of his personality he just isn't the same -- but of course I'm thankful to have him here with us as he is.
This miracle reminded me that I had abandoned my faith. After feeling this unexplainable sense of peace, a couple weeks in, I began to read my Bible and work on rebuilding my relationship with God. This alone brought a great amount of joy into my life. I had forgotten how good having a solid relationship with God feels.
Getting back in touch with my spiritual side really set the wheels in motion. Growing in my faith seemed to allow me to grow as a person. My view on life was changed for the better. I realized that life is so short and precious, and that we don't have time to stay in the dark because we don't know what tomorrow will bring. I realized we really aren't guaranteed the next day, the next hour, the next minute, or even the next second. My whole world had been turned upside in less than a minute that it took for my mom to tell me such devastating news.
I felt the need to serve God since he had done so much for me and luckily I have an awesome home church that was able to make that happen.My sister and I were able to go to Carolina Cross Connection (CCC) as adults and it was just what we needed.
Carolina Cross Connection has a Christian camp where you go for a week and do home repairs for people who can't afford to or just aren't about to do it themselves. You get to grow in your faith, because you're surrounded by people who nurture your faith and share your views. I find that you typically also get to see God in at least one of the people you work for. I used to love going when I was a teenager, but getting to be an adult and influence young minds was kind of cool. It made me feel like God was using me to help guide these kids in the right direction.
Shortly after returning home from CCC, I started my second job and kicked off my busy summer. I worked all the time, and even though I was always tired, I found myself feeling a new feeling. It felt good and light. I felt like I was walking on clouds and everything was just falling into place for me. I didn't want to call this feeling "happy" because I hadn't felt it in so long, I didn't want to admit to myself that I hadn't been happy for a long time.
At the end of summer I got an internship with an awesome lady and I began writing for The Odyssey. That feeling I was just talking about suddenly intensified and in that moment I knew that this was what happy felt like. The dawn had broke and the sun was rising.
I am finally happy for the first time in years. I am still in awe when I think about how everything just kind of fell into place. I am blessed enough to have two jobs, an awesome internship, write for The Odyssey, and graduate from college in December. I feel like I'm figuring out who I am and what I was put here to do. I am in a place where I can try to make a difference in someone's life. I am in a place I never even knew existed. I can see myself changing and it is amazing. I can feel the light of my happiness beaming out of my like the rays of the sunrise.
I didn't write all of this to brag about how great my life is, but instead to give you hope. Hope is one of the most important things to have because without it, you can feel pretty empty.
Whenever you are going through a dark time just remember life, like time, is a cycle. We go through phases of good and bad just like we go from night to day. If you're in the dark now don't forget that dawn always comes. The sun will always rise.