essay by the brilliant sarah-louise jordan
I used to never be able to turn the light out. When I did, all that was left was the fire and the pain, and it was too terrifying to endure. The light at least was a reminder that regardless of what was happening to me, there was something left to reach for. There was a world beyond the blacksmith’s forge of my bones, waiting for me to be able to rejoin it. Even if I could only do so in the smallest of ways, like opening my eyes for long enough to see that the room was remarkably unchanged by the chaos. I had no energy to think about anything more than navigating the moments. Leaping from one to the next like they were stepping stones I must not fall off. I was so weak that the existence of the light felt like the only thing between me and utter oblivion. It was my comfort.
Light was the first word I ever said and it was all that I kept with me in the unfathomable darkness which came to visit.
It isn’t that bad tonight. I have no light in here, save the current illumination of these keys and I am half asleep but it is bad again. I keep being woken by breathlessness and fire. The house is creaking like an old galleon on tempestuous seas and I am a pirate, in the crows nest of my life, trying to plot a course through waters that have become stormy of a sudden, and will calm down again just as unexpectedly.
I am not afraid anymore. I am not frightened by the relentlessness of the onslaught. I am more relentless. I do not want to have to face this now, but I am not going to be daunted by the battles I am asked to wage in the dark. I don’t need to be, because I have realised that the light I so desperately reached for has been part of me all along. The only light I ever needed was not a dilligently glowing bulb beside me, but the strenghtening knowledge of the love I can give and receive in this world. The knowledge of it’s power and it’s beauty. Of its bright neccessity and its nourishment.
The connections we make, and how they change our existence is all that truly matters.
Stars can die and meteors can obliterate planets we’ve never even heard of. Oceans can move and turn and wear rocks down to nothingness. Trees that have stood for hundreds of years can fall and never raise their branches as if in a silent hallelujah, ever again, but humans will still love. Our connections to one another will continue to grow on ever expanding roots, in directions we don’t foresee, into lifetimes longer than our own. You cannot love in this world without it leaving indelible marks on the memory of time.
You cannot contribute to someone elses life without the future being changed by it.
Many people have wondered in all their different ways whether there is any reason we are here and what it might be. I think we get to choose our reason, and the only reason that makes any sense to me is that we are here for each other. We are here to share the extraordinary and difficult experience of being human and to be one another’s light.
I love you.