Every year for each 5th grade class the amazing school our children attend plan a three day camping trip for the class. It is understandably the highlight of their 5th grade year. The camping trip consist of spending time with amazing teachers, a few lucky parents and all of their classmates in nature. There are no electronics, time is spent simply on team building activities, camping songs, prayer and exploration.
Many of the children look forward to horse back riding, fishing, camp FOOD and lets be honest being away from parents with all of your friends is a plus as well. The chaperones drive small groups of kids to the camp, making for loud music and memories. I was privileged to go with two of my kiddos and truly hoping to be there with our youngest. I feel pretty lucky to be a nurse which allows me to go to camp as the nurse, meaning my name did not have to be drawn. This is TRULY a privilege and one I will never take for granted.
I remember before each trip considering all of the wonderful lessons my children would learn. I remember wondering how I could contribute. During the drive down with each group we sang, laughed and both times I was lucky enough to have their teachers, whom I adore, riding with me. This allowed amazing conversations even when the kids were being a little chaotic. On one particular night of camp a night walk is scheduled which honestly for someone who does not like hiking, did not sound fun.
Looking back the night walks are what have truly impacted me the most. During this walk the children are taught to try and rely on their senses. In the horse barn (which happens to be quite dark) each child is given a wintergreen lifesaver and as they chew the lifesaver they are able to see what is called triboluminescence. This is a reaction caused by friction in this case the friction of teeth and sucrose. The reason they specifically use wintergreen lifesavers is due to the fact that they contain methyl salicylate which is actually is actually fluorescence. When the electrons in the methyl salicylate become “excited” they emit blue light which is why this particular flavor provides a much more exciting viewing experience in the dark.
Don’t worry this blog has not changed to a science blog, but if your interested you can do the exact same thing in a room with no lights and blackout curtains or in a closet. After the kiddos finished their mints and laughed about the “lightening” in their mouth. We were taken by the lake and everyone was asked to still keep flashlights off during this time. We all laid down on the ground and surrounded by giggles slowly allowed our eyes to adjust to the darkness. For “night vision” or scotopic vision to begin the rods in our eyes have to kick in. The rods in our eyes are colorblind and also take about 20 minutes sometimes as long as 45 minutes to fully kick in.
However, when that night vision takes over as you lay your body on the ground and hear the giggles of 20+ children around you slowly the giggling calms and the sky lights up with a beauty view of the milky way. In those moments there is pure peace. It is as if all of the darkness has faded and all you can see is the light. The truth is though if you have been reading thus far you know the light was there the whole time, what had to happen is we had to allow ourselves the ability to find it.
This is what happens as we stand in the fire of life. That does not change regardless of what stories brought you into the flames. My friends, while you are in the flames you will never be able to see the full beauty of your light, this is by no fault of your own. This is simply because your mind can not adjust to appropriate visualize the beauty within you until you are fully surrounded in darkness. This is where rock bottom hits. This is the moment in all of the pain that you have stepped out of the fire and for a moment you feel as if you are taking everything back, but the truth is the reason the fire did not consume you is because the fire inside you burned brighter than that around you.
Now as you step out there is darkness. You will see all of the people who had offered to help, the people who had thrown gasoline, the people who tried to throw water and you will even see those who are still engulfed in their own flames. In this moment, you have to make a decision. You have to decide if you are going to allow yourself to become accustom to the dark and rest yourself enough to let your light appear. Often times in these moments after coming out of the flames we begin to become “people pleasers” this is also when addiction occurs, marriages breakdown, friendships end and that is how rock bottom happens. I know you are probably feeling confused and a little frustrated with me. I have told you to step out of the fire only to give you a gloomy view of what lies beyond the flames, but FRIEND trust me when I tell you it is worth it.
I want you to spend a moment and think about as you step out of those flames and all of the people I mentioned above are around. The ones you focus on the most are those who are still engulfed in their own flames. These are the moments you wear yourself out trying to help others, you feel that is your purpose, you feel you have to pull them out because you got out. What you have forgotten sweet human is that YOU are out of the flames and awaiting the adjustment to the dark so you can see your own light. They have to do the same. You can not heal the world, but you can make a difference. You have to start with yourself.
Stepping out of those flames is also where addiction, divorce and so many other painful events occur. This is because its cold outside of the fire. Its not the same protective cold that left you frozen there. It is a coldness that feels never ending, its dark, you are afraid and you’re looking for a flash light. I want you to trust me when this happens allow yourself to rest, allow yourself to feel the pain, and know IT WILL HURT. You will feel like you can not go on, but just as our eyes adjusted as we laid on the cold ground waiting for the beautiful stars to appear… You will adjust and your light will shine!
You have to experience that darkness, you have to allow yourself to realize the light that lives inside of you. You can not see it if you keep trying to run from the dark. You can not see it if you continually add light each time you attempt pull someone else out of the flames. You can not see it if you drown yourself in a flashlight of addiction. You can ONLY find your light when you allow yourself to be still and adjust to the darkness. It will be DARK, but that my friend is because the light lies inside you. Once you find it, you can then share it will the world and it will become a beacon for those who are wanting to allow the fire to consume them.
You are the light