What is Darkness - By Matthew Stover

About two weeks ago, I had a very troubling dream, one I really haven’t had in a very long time.  I dreamt that I had died.  I was like a ghost, hovering over the people who attended my wake and funeral Mass.  Later on, I wandered the world and would visit friends and family who were hurting (not just because of my death but for other reasons).  I tried to help and comfort them but couldn’t touch them.

I awoke in a cold sweat and that feeling of not being able to help my friends and family stayed with me.  From time to time since that night, I’ve fallen into a daze … numb from dread, numb from fear, just numb from having the realization that I’m not ready to say “Goodbye.”  Not that anyone ever really is.

Earlier today, I caught up on reading the blog of one of my friends from my school days in Kalamazoo.  She wrote about the things and people she had to say goodbye to in 2012 (http://caseyroon.com/2012/12/31/waking-from-the-2012-nightmare/).  I’ve heard similar comments from other people about how they were glad to be done with 2012.  My heart was/is full for her and my thoughts and my prayers continue to be with her as she continues her healing in this new year.

I honestly don’t really know how to say “goodbye” to anyone or to anything.  Thinking back to graduations from elementary/junior high/high school/college, it just happens.   I would see classmates and friends and basically go, “I’ll see ya!”  Thinking back to when I’ve changed jobs (both by choice and by mandate) or when my co-workers would move on to something new, I would reply with the same approach, “See ya’ soon!” I wouldn’t dwell on it, I’d just accept it.  I mean, life does move on, right?

If that’s the case, why can’t I shake this feeling?  Aside from having to remember to write 2013 on my checks and other written documents, what has changed?  What do I have to say goodbye to?

In discussing the dream, one of my best friends pointed out that a lot actually has changed for me at the end of 2012.  For example, I’m no longer a voting member of the Michigan Jaycees Board of Directors.  My Jaycee career has officially ended.  In addition, I’ve made a number of resolutions to change my physical fitness activities by joining a gym, in essence getting rid of my old self.  I’ve started my term as a Kalamazoo County Road Commissioner and as the Chairman of the Republican Party of Kalamazoo County, two things that will perhaps force me to say goodbye to my sanity.

I was also reminded that when the day comes in which I am forced to say goodbye, reaching the end of my time here, that there are still many people around who will help say my goodbyes for me by continuing to help others who are in need, build up the communities we live in, and … in a way, by making sure their iPods play good music all of the time.  This, at the least, made me smile.

Like many others, I have hope that 2013 will be a good year.  It was said in The Dark Knight Rises, “… there can be no true despair without hope.”  But I think there can be nothing positive in our lives with having a hope for the best.  I have hope that the best is yet to come. I have hope in the best in all people.  I have hope that we all will be able to be positive in our goodbyes.  And I have hope in the world to come and that, like a candle, I’ll be able to provide warm and light and comfort to those here on Earth and those beyond and help hold back the dark chill.