By Jessi Snapp
Most of my life I have known what it was to suffer. To live in the quicksand that slowly drags you down and suffocates the life right out of your soul. My entire childhood was consumed by abuse and utter chaos. By the time I was 17, I knew what it meant to rise above what had been laid out before me, to work through the load of pain that bore weight on my young soul. I thought I knew everything there was to know about true suffering. I thought I knew all aspects of scathing pain.
Until I lost him – my littlest boy. Until I held him while blood no longer coursed through his veins. While all signs of his life were nonexistent. While his body grew cold against my warm skin. As rigor mortis set in. And until his body was pried from my nearly impregnable grasp.
His death forced me into an unrivaled level of pain, one I didn’t think existed. I thought I had lived through the hardest parts of my life, but his death shoved me down to new depths. It held me under and watched me as I struggled to come up for air. Death held me under until I found the one thing that was stronger, more forceful. The one thing that could save my life from drowning by the weight of his death.
I reached a point in life where I had grown weary. I was tired of hanging on by a thread. Tired of simply being and not living. Tired of surviving. Tired of having every moment of joy and glimpse of hope stolen and ripped from my clenched fists. My resources had been exhausted by the unfairness of life. I stood broken, and all I could see was desolation and despair. Everything wiped away and destroyed in the war I was waging against life. But I refused to be defeated. I refused to let death win. Because I knew that love prevails – always.
Whispers began to echo through me. Words I once spoke to my son. Whispers of promises that I would always live my life for him, and I wanted more than anything to keep that promise, but in order for me to keep that promise I knew I had to do something differently. I couldn’t spend the rest of my life drowning in his absence.
So I made a choice. I chose to wake up every day and search for my son in the beauty of the little things. The everyday things that are often over looked. I chose to spread his love through the world like a blanket and wrap it around everyone I possibly could.
I chose to love, to love life despite its malevolent flaws, and because I chose love – acceptance followed. Because acceptance followed – I found solace. Because I found solace – I was able to rise. I chose love, and love is far greater than any form of pain. I chose to love others and to love myself. To forgive myself, forgive others, and forgive life for having to be ruthless. I had to dig down deep and somehow find the courage to face the darkness head-on and find the tenacity to make the most of life – despite its relentless nature.
Because of that, I have come to accept an important fact. I have come to accept that elation and desolation are precariously intertwined. They are of the same thread. One cannot exist without the other. I only know joy because I have known extreme sorrow. I only know sorrow because I have known true joy. I have accepted that I can’t have one without the other. And because these two things are only existent because of one another, I have learned to embrace them both for what they are: polar opposites in life that are stitched throughout the human experience, woven into the most intricate parts of life. They are part of living. This thread makes the joy more joyful and the sad more poignant. These stitches can unravel – painfully, or they can keep you bound together. It’s all in how you choose to tend to them.
I have grown to see that my brokenness is but a prism in the kaleidoscope that is life. I am a vessel that carries around a thousand splintered pieces – but these pieces do not define me. When I seek the light in all that this life has to offer, these pieces come together – a little convoluted, perhaps – but captivating. These broken pieces may be a large part of me, but when I hold them to the light – the rich colors of my heart are able shine. But that’s the thing about the kaleidoscope, you have to hold it the light in order to see the beauty in broken. If you don’t, all you get is darkness. And I’d much rather be held to the light. Because this light breathes life and hope back into my weary soul. This light makes living worth every single minute – the good and the strenuous. This light is what makes coming alive again possible.
I have known just as much joy as I have pain, and I have loved that joy far too much to let it all fall away. It wasn’t until I stopped being fearful of the dark that I could rise to the light, but I had to trudge through the darkness to find it.
And it all started with a choice – the choice to rise up and constantly search for the good. Every. Single. Day. And when I have trouble finding it – reminding myself to embrace the world for what it is and try to face every aspect of it with love and a forgiving heart. And every day I cling to one simple truth.
Love always prevails.
Jessi Snapp is a wife, mother to one on earth and three she carries in her heart, artist, writer, student, and a perpetual optimist. She is the creative behind Luminous Light Studio where she spreads love and light through her art for hurting hearts. Find her on Facebook or Instagram.