We all have a movie scene, lyric, quote, or something similar that lives rent free in our heads. For me there are two: One is from Casablanca, and the other from the LOTR Two Towers. As the uruk-hai descend on Helms Deep, Theoden falls into hopelessness. He had hoped the stronghold would hold out and not fall, but as the hoard beats down the door, and death’s stench fills the room, he cannot help but let his hope fall into despair. He says, perhaps to know one, “So much death. What can men do against such reckless hate?”
Aragorn responds, “Ride with me. Ride out and meet them.” Theoden puffs up, “For death and glory?” “No,” Aragorn says, “For Rohan, for your people.” Reminding Theoden who he is fighting for. Gimli, noticing a light, “The sun is rising.” And it is here that Aragorn is remind, “Look to my coming at first light on the fifth day. At dawn, look to the east.”
By the time this Monday Morning Joe airs, we should be making our turn toward the Christmas season. A time of hope. A time when the sun sets before we have left our offices, yet hope shines from houses and buildings, decorated in light.
It is a season where light and dark struggle for dominance, a struggle that lasts for months. Yet, we all have hope that the bleak winters will give way to a new spring. Darkness eventually gives way to light.
To continue my Tolkien theme, there is a scene in the Hobbit novel where The Company must traverse through the dark woods of Mirkwood. As they travel through the woods, they feel the pressure of the darkness, longing for light. We all come to a point where we feel trapped in our own Mirkwood.
Here are three tips to help you navigate those dark days:
1) Stay on the path.
Often, we begin a journey or life itself, and we begin to lose our way. When you feel you are losing your way, take a moment to find your path and stay on the path. Trust the path you are on is the one that will lead you to the light.
2) Get fresh air.
Again, with the Hobbit, there is a moment when the dwarves are freaking out and beg Bilbo to climb a tree to see if they are close to the end. Bilbo reluctantly climbs the tallest tree, and at the top is met with fresh air that renews his senses and renews his hope. When you find yourself suffocating from the darkness, climb the nearest tree and get yourself some fresh air, and allow the air to refill your soul.
3) Ask for help.
I have saved what I believe to be the most important for the last. Ask for help. There are people whose calling is to help guide you out of the darkness and into the light. Reach out to a life coach, someone like Charles Gosset at Full Integration Coaching. Reach out to a local pastor like Steve Chiles at Shartel Church of God. Click on the “schedule a meeting with Joe.” Find someone trained to walk with you and guide you through the darkness. Do not feel you need to go at it alone.