I don’t remember the first day I woke up unsatisfied. Like napping in the grass on a sunny day, a shadow crept from across the way until I woke up chilly.
Moving, I sought more sun, but was told that this or that patch of sunny grass was not for me. My sun would come back out. I should go back to my darkened patch and wait.
As I waited through the long night, I watched others frolic in their suns and couldn’t understand why theirs were out but mine was hidden. When others weren’t watching, I would sneak over and steal a moment here or there trying to join in, but was told to go away.
My place was in the shadows. It was lonely. Who wants to play with someone who’s always in darkness?
One day, I thought to look at what cast my shade. It looked insurmountable, immovable. But it was also foreign and haphazardly placed. If it came from somewhere else, there must be a way to remove it!
So I chipped away at it with sticks and stones until it revealed lurid, hurtful things to me. It showed that I wasn’t alone in the shade and that those in the shade were cursed.
This? This is what this is? A giant distilled crystal mountain of the mockery and pain I’ve already endured? It can’t be! It can’t be a part of me.
It just can’t.
I turned my back to it and tried to pretend it wasn’t there. I resolved to make the best of my situation. If I couldn’t have the light, I could have the dark and try to be happy with it.
For years I tried. Years and years.
But I wasn’t happy in the dark.
Sometimes the temptation was too great, and I would steal a sunbeam here or there, or bask in the reflected sunlight of those around me. Then, remembering the chastisement of my youth, I would skulk back to the shadow in shame. Angry, I would attack that which kept me in darkness, but my furies were impotent.
One day I noticed it had weathered. I decided to see if I could chip away at it again. While hacking at it, I was astonished to discover it was connected to all the other people who lived in darkness. And that there were a lot of us. More than most had ever dreamed possible.
Even more amazing, like miners trapped in a cave-in, many of those people had been working together to tunnel to the surface. To the sunlight.
Looking within, I could see ladders in pools of dim light that illuminated the way up.
A way out? Out of this perpetual twilight? Could it be?
I began to dig and worm my way in so that I could get out. But behind me there were shouts and cries: “Save him! Save him!”
Roughly pulled out and berated by those in the sun, I was told I’d be on my own if I went in there again. That if I really wanted to abandon everyone here, I would have to jump through hoops to prove that I was worthy enough to embark on the journey to sunlight. Further, I couldn’t just hop the fence to the sunlight I saw behind them, I had to tunnel through the mountain through hard labor.
The voices inside the mountain called to me and promised that the pain and loss was worth it. I had two sirens in my ears so loud that I couldn’t hear myself.
Dejected and demoralized, I gave up again. I put my back to the cold stone and re-focused on being the best I could be in the darkness. People would stop by and tell me that I looked and was doing great. But it was getting darker day by day.
I knew that one day the sun would set forever. Did I really want to spend the rest of my remaining time in darkness, apart from those in the sun? To not feel the nourishing warmth again?
I couldn’t. I can’t!
So one day not so long ago I opened my eyes to confront that mountain again, and to my astonishment, found that I was already on a ladder being hoisted up by friends. My ears are tearing from the brightness and joy.
The surface and sunlight is not far away now.