Today was the first time I’ve ever been able to look ahead into the future with hope and excitement. And I’m not talking about the next month, or even next year. This morning, as I looked at my son cooing and giggling in his bassinet beside my bed, I saw a future of running around and playing hide and seek; of super hero trick or treating and exuberant Christmas mornings; of ABC flashcards and volcano science projects erupting in the kitchen. For the first time in a very very long time, I looked to the future and I was filled with hope and joy.
As someone who has struggled with traumatic experiences and mental health issues practically all my life, I can’t remember a time when the future didnt terrify me. And that’s not to say that I’m not scared of what the future may hold now. Only that instead of a “hide under the covers and stay in bed” kind of fear, it’s more of a “first day of school” kind of jitters, a mix of excitement and nervous uncertainty.
Most of my life has been spent just trying to survive the day at hand. Tomorrow was just a word and the future was just an idea that was too far out of reach to even consider. But now, as I look into the eyes of my son, wide with enthusiam and vitality, I am filled with a sense of childlike wonder and joy. I can’t wait to see what the future holds, but I am also happily enjoying being present in today.
I never knew life could be like this. I never knew the future could seem so bright. I never thought I could be as happy as I am right now. I look back on all the times I wanted to give up: Six official suicide attempts and countless other times I’ve gone to sleep praying I wouldn’t wake up again; all the ways I tried to numb the pain because I didn’t think there was ever any hope for me. But I was wrong.
If I had been succeessful any one of those times I tried to take my own life before, I would not have been able to sit here today and tell you “don’t give up.” Don’t quit. There is light at the end of the tunnel. I know it may not seem like it now, but I urge you to just hold on. You probably think this message isn’t for you. That there is no bright future in store for you. But you are wrong. Just like I was. Whether you’re a believer or not, there is a Higher Power who loves you, even when you can’t love yourself. And He wants you to be happy. You just have to have a little faith. And a little is all you need. It just takes a little bit of faith to make it through the day. And then you start again the next day. You just need to hold on to that spark of hope you once had. Remember, as a child, you had a sparkle in your eye and hope in your heart. I tell you now that that spark has not been extinguished. It is merely an ember waiting for you to have the faith to ignite it again. I know it’s hard. I know it feels impossible to ever believe in a happy future. But that’s the best part. You don’t have to believe in a happily ever after ending. You just have to believe in the One who created you. He created you to be happy. Believe in His everlasting unconditional love for you and trust that He will see you through. Let Him be the light at the end of the tunnel. Immerse yourself in His word and let your heart be filled with the Spirit. All it takes is a mustard seed of faith. Just hold on. Hold on through today. And don’t give up on tomorrow. The future is beautiful and it’s waiting for you.