Monday, February 24, 2014

The Seed of Hope in Despair

One of the themes I've been most driven to explore is despair. Oh, I've felt it…and recently, too, caring for a child that is chronically ill and feeling like a failure as a parent, struggling to live my dreams against ALL odds…trying to fight the doubts and fears that plague any of us when we step out of our comfort zone…losing people we care about, and love…Failure can make you feel despair. Fear can. Hopelessness can. Loneliness…Loss. Loss of SELF most of all.

But one thing I've realized is that there is an incredible POWER to despair…a reconstructive power that begins when realization dawns that you have hit ROCK BOTTOM emotionally, maybe even physically…and have absolutely nowhere else to go but up. Yes, you can choose to stay down, lay down, even die. But most of us won't do that, because even in the deepest, darkest moments, we have an inherent urge to survive…and a capacity to see and feel joy even when we have nothing left. Even when we are empty.

I think there is an amazing force behind despair and emptiness…a cleanliness to your life and a clarity that did not exist when you were filled with anything, even good things. Feeling empty is an impetus point for going out into the world and bravely choosing what to now fill yourself with. Despair is an end point at which you finally can turn onto a different path, a different road with a different outcome, because you've been to hell down that one road and you won't go back for anything.

I have always wanted to write about despair, and I think in some small way, all of my fictional works, even my screenplays, have featured an element of being lost, of being despairing, of being empty and having one's back fully flattened against the wall of life. My stories, and my characters, always involve coming away from that wall stronger, with a fighting spirit that overpowers all fear and doubt and lack of courage. Even the more humorous or lighthearted fare has involved a character feeling lost, alone, empty of hope…shoved against a flat surface, told that this was indeed the end of the road, and then pushing off that flat surface with newfound "pissed off-ness" and a refusal to take any more crap from anyone.

Life is filled with both joy and despair…and mostly it's filled with in-between stuff that comes nowhere close to either extreme. But I fully believe that it's the extremes that fuel us and shape who we are…and drive us forward into the abyss of becoming.

Despair may feel like the most unempowering place to be. But to me, it is where all the power in the universe is suddenly placed at our feet…reverent to us...