Hello, Darkness, my old friend…

June 24, 2019

Several years ago, at a book signing, I was asked by a stranger why I liked to write about “dark” topics like ghosts and murders. She asked me while I was being filmed live on the local TV station. I’m sure I stuttered, because I was caught off-guard and felt as if I was being judged, but I came up with something that seemed to appease her and she walked away. As uncomfortable as it was for a moment, I’m grateful that she asked, because it prompted me to really reflect on the drive I seemed to have to tackle dark or unpleasant subjects. I’ve never forgotten her question. A few years later, after experiencing more personal setbacks and hurdles such as breast cancer and the loss of my father, it became clear to me…

Paul Simon began writing his iconic classic hit “Sound of Silence” the same year I was born, which is prophetically fitting. The opening lyric foreshadowed a theme I would experience throughout my life; indeed, a theme we all experience in various ways throughout our lives: Darkness, as a familiar presence and occasional accomplice. After all, how can we appreciate what’s good, if we never have to face what’s bad? Darkness is as necessary to the human experience as the air we breathe. I’ve been blessed with much good in my life, but it’s the not-so-good things that have taught me the most. With every rendezvous I’ve had with my “old friend,” I’ve walked away stronger, wiser, and more humbled. It’s funny how something as cruel as Darkness can bestow such honorable traits on us. But he’s dependable; I’ll give him that. I know he will always be waiting to assist—frothing at the mouth—in the painful, heartless, fearsome way that only Darkness can, when it’s time for me to understand and experience the next life lesson on my journey. Like a ruthless trainer, he will push me—spent and breathless—to my limits, as he has so many times in the past. But in the end, it’s for my own good. Because of Darkness, I am strong.