Poem: “A Painful Awakening”

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Ashlee LanternSome of my students organized and conducted an art event last night. It was called Veritas Luz. Students were invited to submit some form of art that related to the theme, truth and light. After hearing the theme I was reminded of a story that I often give in my classes concerning my spiritual condition in college. While a member of ROTC at Texas A&M I was not in a good place emotionally or spiritually, and I had dark episodes of angst and melancholy. I nurtured these moods by sitting in my dorm room and listening to Nine Inch Nails. One particular night I remember sitting in my room, windows blacked out, Nine Inch Nails playing, drawn samurai sword in lap, and contemplating cutting myself. I wasn’t depressed over anything particular….I was just in a dark place in life. Their were dark voices whispering in my ear, telling me that something more extreme would fulfill me….and yet I knew that was a lie. I sat, staring at my dorm room door, back to the wall. I had taken several measures to darken the room, but I had missed the cracks around the door that were leaking in the always present light from the hallway. Even in that melancholy state I knew what the cracks of light meant to me. They were a message…a call from an intimate God…calling me back to a healthy place. My life didn’t change immediately, but I recognized what was happening.

I wrote this very short poem as a reminder of that time in my life. I shared it along with a picture that my wife took. I hope it encourages anyone who has experienced a similar time in their lives:

Dark days driving mad

And mad I have become

Oppressive rooms speak lies to me

And lies blot out the sun

Yet light appears through my tears

And tears wash away the pride

I’m harkened out into the truth

And truth reveals my sight

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