Everyone has a flashlight. We keep it shining bright by recharging the batteries. Some people are recharged by their relationship with God. Others rely on self care. Many seek counseling when they need to work on recharging.
When we find ourselves in a dark pit of despair, we can use our flashlight to light the way as we do the hard work of climbing out. This is not time for the light to die out, so it’s important to continually keep the charge full.
When we find someone else in their dark pit of despair, it is natural for us to shine our light into their pit. We want to help. And sometimes that kind of help is very effective. But the pit may be very deep, and our light only reaches so far. It may not even reach the bottom.
We have two two choices:
- Toss our light into the pit, hoping the person grabs it and climbs out before the battery dies.
- Encourage them to use their own light to climb out. At some point their light shining out will merge with your shining in, making the way back easier.
Obviously tossing your light away is not a good option. Chances are, they will deplete your charge just as they depleted their own. Now you are both in the dark. It is true, after all, that the best predicter of future behavior is relevant past behavior. (Thanks, Dr Phil)
Hang on to your light. Keep it charged. That’s the only way to help yourself and also help others when they find themselves in dark places.
Know that it is NOT YOUR JOB to charge someone else’s light.
Only they can do that. You can still offer support. You can still cheer them on. You can still suggest battery-charging resources. In fact, all these things are critical to their climb out of the dark ending successfully
We are better together when everyone accepts responsibility to keep their own flashlight charged. When that happens, our world is a bright and beautiful place.