Shadows & Light

There’s been a repeating theme over the last several weeks. In fact I’ll just say the last couple of months. A theme I’ve seen in my own life, and in other’s lives as well. I’ve noticed in my physical surroundings often. I’m starting to recognize it in my internal world as well; spiritually, emotionally, mentally. The fact that I’ve become aware of this pattern, for me, speaks volumes. It shows that I’ve grown, and become more self aware. But I’m also seeing this pattern often enough that I’m also questioning why. Why am I noticing this particular pattern (me looking outward), or the flip side of the same question, why am I being shown this particular pattern? Its caused me to do some reflection, some pondering, some hypothesizing.

The fact I’m aware of it, and am wondering what it means is significant. It takes on another layer when I’m seeing it in other people’s lives. And another layer on top of that is when others highlight this pattern in my own life – consciously or subconsciously, it seems they’re also aware of this pattern. And while I won’t point my finger at the COVid-19 pandemic as the cause or the root of it… I think some of the effects of the pandemic have shaken a lot of people’s beliefs, but it’s also highlighted how resilient people can be if needed. And I think this “reshuffling” of what we thought we knew and understood, this “sifting” that’s shown us what’s nice but not important, and reminded us of the things that are truly valuable, these shifts have cause many of us to rethink life as whole. And this reprioritizing of life has brought out a shift in people’s thinking, and in their perceptions.

So with these thoughts (and many more besides) bouncing around my brain for the past while, it’s become more and more clear that there’s a step I need to take. I had a taste of it in October when I was featured in a video exploring depression, anxiety, and faith which you can watch here:

https://youtu.be/q_UqIT6VCxI

That video planted a seed – one I’ll admit I brushed off and ignored. But as seeds tend to do when given a bit of light, it started to grow…

So with the foundation (or backstory, if you will) laid out, I’ve decided to start something new. A video series exploring faith, doubts, mental illness, and whatever else may get tied in those “big 3”. So the question that will be asked, one I’m still asking myself, is why? Why me, why now, why not someone else, etc….

1. Why me? Simple. I’m not you. And you’re not me (and believe me, you should be thankful you’re not me. I get annoyed with me enough as it is, so we don’t need double that happening!) But really, yes, because you’re not me. But maybe you can relate to some of the stuff I’ll cover. Or maybe you can’t but know someone who would. More on that in a bit…
2. Why now? Because I’m a procrastinator. I’ll find any excuse I can for myself NOT to do this. And that in itself is a good reason to do it. And I can’t shake the feeling that this is something I just need to start and see where it goes!
3. Why not someone else? I don’t know the answer to this. There are smarter people out there. There are far better theologians. There are better orators. There are more beautiful people that look better in front of a camera. I’m not dumb. I’m not uneducated, and I don’t know my bible as well as I should. I’m not a public speaker (at least I don’t think I am). And as for beautiful? Well, There’s a reason I’m working the job I’m at, and not gracing the cover of the latest trendy magazines. And as far as “beauty” goes, I’m ok with that.

But coming back to the why. I have several unique creative gifts. Written word is a strong one. Being able to use analogies to help people understand – both when verbally explaining something, but also in writing. My blog is testament to that. And actually, my blog is one of the foundational ideas I’m building off of.

You see, this blog started as self-therapy for dealing with depression and anxiety and suicidal ideation. A way to dump the thoughts in my head onto something real, to help me figure it out. And slowly it started to reach a few people, and I found that what I wrote was therapy for them as well…so my writing slightly shifted. I was still writing for me – but I wrote it with others in mind. In a sense it was a journey we took together, and I’m so grateful I was able to help a few souls through my words. I think the transparency I strive for in my writing and on social media has been making a difference, a little bit at a time. And that too is tied in with this.

And this vlog/video diary/visual thing will be intended to track a similar path. It’s might not “click” with the typical church crowd, although I hope some will join me on this adventure. I’m tired of whispering about my doubts. I think many people are. But I just have this desire, an urge, maybe a compulsion, whatever you want to call it… But I need to start it. To start being public with my questions and my doubts, and my search for better answers than I currently have. And my heart is telling me that this raw, gritty, stumble through the darkness is something a lot of people want, but don’t dare admit it. I’m not claiming I know the way to the answers. Because while I learned in Sunday School, if there’s a question, JESUS is always the answer. But living in the shadows, it’s not always so black and white.

I think people really do want to know there are some absolute truths in life. Undisputable blacks and whites, and the contrast that it brings. And I know the direction I need to look, but I know there are roots and rocks and pitfalls between here and there. This is the path I see before me. My hope is that by sharing it publicly, that I can encourage a few people along the way. Maybe they’re struggling on the same path, maybe they’ve been on this path before and want to help me past the rough parts. Or maybe I can help someone else on their path. Or, more likely, it’s going to be all of this and more.

Ladies and gentlemen, in the near(ish) future I’ll be launching a semi-regular video series. “Shadows & Light” is what I’ll call it for now. A stumble through the shadowlands of doubts and mental illness, but with my eyes open for the flashes of Light I’ve seen on the distant horizon. It’s an attempt to be more organized. It’s an attempt to train myself in critical thinking. It will force me to learn videography and video production. It will challenge me. It will probably scare the stuffing out of me at least once (…and probably at least once a week while I get the ball rolling). I have almost a full week off for Christmas so my goal is to get one episode shot and posted, and work out an outline for at least 2 more episodes (outlined and hopefully up to the storyboard stage). How often will I be posting episodes? I’d like to do at least one a month, but if I get inspired and this starts to really grow, it might be bi-weekly, if it gets to that point. But for now, I’m hoping at least once a month – which is more than I’ve been doing on this blog. Oooops….

But for now, that’s all I’ve got. Tomorrow is Christmas Eve. It’s definitely a very different year for so many of us. For me, I believe it’s the 3rd time in 42 years that I haven’t spent it with my parents (and the other 2 they weren’t even in the country, so that would have been kinda impossible anyway). And for me, it’s the first time spending it without any family. Social distancing, travel restrictions and some health concerns all played a factor in that. It is what it is! So here’s hoping things start shifting back to what we used to call “normal” relatively soon. And from my little corner of the planet to you, I wish you a Merry Christmas, and Happy Holidays. The end of the year holds significance for so many people, for many reasons. And I hope you take the time to reflect on what you hold dear, and what you want to accomplish in 2021.

Peace and Love,
Andrew

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