Ok, so perhaps you are like me and you are thinking what in the world is ekphrasis? This means that I am supposed to write about another art form. So, I found a Flickr Image in Creative Commons that inspires me and I am supposed to free write about it for fifteen minutes without editing the post. Here is the image and here goes my thoughts…
When I look at this picture, I am reminded of why I decided to name my blog “The Nat Cave.” Too often, we keep things hidden in the darkness instead of bringing them into the light. Mental illness is one of these areas. Because we don’t understand or are too embarrassed to share our struggles, we bury them deep within and don’t let anyone know what’s really going on inside.
Or maybe it’s some deep, dark sin that no one knows about. You’ve been able to keep it hidden from others, but inside you are dying. You hate what this sin is doing to you and who you are becoming, but fear keeps you from exposing yourself. You’d rather hide alone in the darkness, than shed light on this dark area of your life – even if that means you continue to suffer in the darkness.
Plato wrote about a man trapped in a cave that was afraid to come out into the light. Sometimes we are so content in the darkness because it is familiar. To venture into the light means to go into the unknown, which can be very scary. So, each day, millions of us suffer alone due to the fear of what might happen if our secrets were brought to light.
I’ve learned that the only real freedom comes from bringing things into the light. Michael and I hid his bipolar disorder for a long time, because we felt shame. Why? Well, for starters we didn’t understand this illness. We believed the lie that because we were Christians we were supposed to have it all together. HOGWASH! Whoever started that rumor never read his Bible.
It wasn’t until we suffered in silence for several years that we began slowly to inch our way into the light by sharing our “secret” with a few trusted people. I often wonder if we’d reached out for help earlier, would Michael still be alive?
When it comes to sin, as long as I can hide it, it can control me. I continue to sin, and often feel guilty about it, but because no one knows, I find it harder and harder to escape. To tell someone might bring shame on my name…but even more…it could bring freedom.
We all need accountability in our lives and this can only happen when we allow ourselves to be truly vulnerable with someone else. We must be willing to allow someone else to see into the dark recesses of our souls – see the good and the bad – and give them permission to speak truth to us. Only then can we begin to escape the darkness and enter the marvelous light.
As in this picture, things gain a whole new perspective in the light. What was blurred our even unseen is not only visible but often clarified in the light. The shadows are now recognizable and not so scary. The trail becomes clearer and the journey more bearable, perhaps more pleasurable.
May we all find people we trust to lead us out of the darkness and into His Marvelous Light (Ok, so now I’m singing a song…).
This post was written as part of NHBM – 30 health posts in 30 days: http://bit.ly/vU0g9J
Labels: Mental Health