Remembering what it means to “be”.

A light begins to shine in a broken man’s eyes as he hears words spoken that resonate with who  he once knew himself to be. There is a desperate need in each of us to be reassured that what we once held dear can still be possible once I find myself derailed and trapped in a foul prison.

It is amazing, that honesty is not difficult at times like this. There is a frankness to conversation that freely accepts responsibility for actions taken. Reflective regret tinges memories as a moment’s choice is seen as the start of a journey into despair. The eyes looking at me are used to seeing condemnation or even worse – the act of not being seen or recognized. They understand what it is like to be written off as flotsam that many wish could just be swept away.

Eyes will allow themselves to be looked into when the eye meeting them connects with the flame of life within. At times the impact is shocking! At other times, it breaks through the walls of shame and grief and lifts up a heart  into the realm of being.

Many wounded souls cease to be. Existing can happen for a long time with no sense of being. Motions are repetitive and destructive. There is a familiarity born from pain, that in some cruel way condemns while driving a soul forward into another day without hope.

When light shines in to my darkness, I am forced to confront my pain and being. While the breath of life is intoxicating, it also brings with it the agony of loss and the awakening sensation that burns when circulation is restored to a part of my body once numb with cold.

These moments are substantial. They require those of us, who desire to come alongside others and help them return to being fully alive, to be ready to be a friend. That is, someone one who sticks closer than a brother. To do otherwise is to raise hope and leave a wounded soul in a worse condition than before. It is cruelty to give a glimpse of hope and then walk away detached. I must value the person. A sacred being. This is why Jesus said – if you have done it onto the least of these – you have done it on to me.

Yet, “being there” does not change the reality of the sucking vacuum that devours all life around one whose identity is lost and being is just a memory. It does not stop the broken habits seeking release from horror. It does not shift the desperate moves of survival. Something more is needed to lift the darkness and breathe life into being.

Being “done to” will never help a lost soul find being.

It is only when the breeze of life interacts with the light that shines within a person’s spirit that something begins to happen. Somehow real spiritual connection with another being opens up a door to courage. There is a togetherness that invites them to reach out and lay hold of hope, to acknowledge the identity known deep within their fortress of despair, and begin living again. To be. The pain of living can be overwhelming, but the promise of redemption is that love’s triumph is real, tangible and powerful.

Life is not alone. Life is “being” and yet something more. It goes beyond words to spirit. The reality of the Spirit of Life flowing into darkness at just the right moment releases a connection that breaks shackles. The Spirit creates a restored  “being” that opens my life together with others whose song echoes my beauty and destiny back to me and lets me live again.

Author – Bill Tidsbury