I love to be able to sit and write out my own thoughts, but sometimes it’s better to sit back and read someone else’s. Below are the eloquent words of my friend and fellow writer, Shakirah A. Hill, who just submitted her first book proposal, is an incredible speaker and a joy to know and read. In her crazy schedule, she kindly agreed to guest blog on my lowly ‘ol site here and I am very appreciative! I encourage you to read on as Shakirah shares the struggle of fearing the dark (something so timely in my life right now), but why darkness in our lives can actually breed growth. Enjoy and follow her today! –Karen
I sat across the table from my niece admiring how much she had grown. Kamari wasn’t a baby anymore—a fact she declared every chance she could get. Sitting adjacent from me was a ten-year-old young lady quite capable of ordering her own meal, formulating her own opinions, and rejecting my offers to hold her hand in public, lest she be spotted by her peers. Over the last decade Kamari and I have cultivated a deep bond because our relationship has always been one built on transparency and trust. I never aimed as high as being considered the “cool aunt,” though I—quite obviously—am. My hope has always been that Kamari knows she has a safe place to freely express her concerns, desires, and her personal truths. So, on a balmy Saturday afternoon over a hot plate of shrimp-n-grits, I ventured into the unknown places of my niece’s heart.
“What’s your biggest struggle right now?” I asked. It seemed like a sophisticated question for a young lady her age, but I felt certain Kamari would know how to tackle my probing with wisdom well beyond her years. She sat looking pensively as if pondering every word that would adequately express her current weakness. Then, after perching one leg under the opposite thigh to give more height to her tiny frame she let me in. “Well, someone at my school told me a story about this lady who attacks people in their sleep if they don’t know the magic word.” She was referring to a new age urban myth, much like the ones we heard as kids. I looked curiously at her sweet face, wondering where the story was leading.
“And, ever since then, I’ve been trying to get over my fear of going downstairs in the dark.” She continued.
It was one of those rare moments when Kamari was vulnerable. I pictured my niece, whose hair is as big as her vibrant personality, clamoring in the darkness frantically searching for the light to alleviate her fear. I wanted to tell her that though she was only referring to an urban myth, which would never occur, the darkness doesn’t go away. It only morphs into life circumstances beyond our control and one day she will clamor through the treachery of disappointments, failures, and heartbreaks. I also wanted to tell her that even though she’ll have to walk through darkness the light will always come. I didn’t say these things, though because I believe as much as we love people and want to shelter them from pain some lessons can’t be imparted. There are some experiences we must face head on to fully cultivate who we are destined to be, even at ten years old.
Darkness is a breeding point for growth. Nature is our best teacher in this regard. There is a cycle within photosynthesis known as the dark reaction pathway (It’s no longer called this, but the new terminology is technical and boring—stay with me). The dark reaction is the second stage of a plant’s photosynthesizing, independent of light, which catalyzes the plant’s growth by moving energy captured from the sun (in phase one) to create carbon dioxide. Plants need carbon dioxide to survive and not successfully completing this phase of the growth process guarantees that the plant will not survive. In this way, darkness is good because there is a natural maturation process at work.
We’re no different from plants in this respect. I think we can all agree (if we’re an agreeable bunch) that walking through some of the darkest moments of our lives has produced good things. My life certainly has. It has taken betrayals, heartbreaks, setbacks and more to build me into the woman I am today. I’m proud to have the heart and character that I do, yet it was not without going through pruning.
Kamari will overcome her fear of the dark. She’ll learn to walk through it to make it down the stairs. Her desire for what lies on the other side of the darkness will overpower her reservations, as it is with you. You will learn to walk through darkening pain of your heart because your courage and hope for a better tomorrow will move you. And you will remember that you aren’t walking alone.
As we left our brunch date, Kamari and I couldn’t help to notice the beautiful weather. It was a bright day with light abounding. Looking ahead towards the horizon just over the city’s skyline I reach out for my niece’s hand. Flashing a wide and cunning smile she obliged my silent request and together we walked towards the Son.
—Shakirah A. Hill is a writer, speaker, and dreamer. Though she is a New York native, Shakirah is currently residing in Washington, D.C. She loves Jesus, pretty clothes and showing the world God’s heart. You can follow her meanderings on Twitter @ShakirahAdianna or check out her website www.shakirahadianna.com.