I am a gigantic fan of Lost and recently I’ve started re-watching it from the first episode.
For all of you weirdos that have never seen it (I say that very lovingly of course), Lost is about a group of people who are plane-crashed on a mysterious Island. All of the survivors are damaged human beings, they all have complicated and rich histories, they all have secrets and struggles. They all have things that they are ashamed of, and by the end of the series, each and every one of them comes into their own, embraces who they really are, and they all realize that they are stronger than their pasts.
I was watching an episode a few days ago and I fell in love with a certain concept. You see, when I first watched Lost years ago, it was before my “big change”, before I realized all of the things that I hated about myself were fixable, before I realized I had the power to change. This time around while watching it, my heart just went “Yesyesyes” at this part of the episode.
The exchange takes place between John Locke, a man who knows all about suffering. Before the plane crash he was in a wheelchair, paralyzed from the waist down. He was constantly told that he couldn’t do anything. After the plane crash he wakes up on the Island and he can walk again. Charlie, another survivor, is a washed up Rock Star who also happens to be addicted to heroin, cue troubled times for Charlie.
Locke realizes what’s going on with Charlie and asks Charlie to give him the last of his heroin, which Charlie does. The next few days are a struggle for Charlie, he starts going through withdrawals, he starts doubting his worth on the Island, he starts thinking about the past and the things that validate his feelings of worthlessness.
He asks Locke for the drugs back and Locke tells him no, but if he asks two more times he can have them. This takes place in the jungle on the second time.
Locke: What do you suppose is in that cocoon, Charlie?
Charlie: I don’t know. A – a – a butterfly, I guess.
Locke: No, it’s much more beautiful than that. That’s a moth cocoon. It’s ironic – butterflies get all the attention, but moths, they spin silk. They’re stronger. They’re faster.
Charlie: That’s wonderful, but…
Locke: You see this little hole? This moth’s just about to emerge. It’s in there right now, struggling. It’s digging it’s way through the thick hide of the cocoon. Now, I could help it – take my knife, gently widen the opening, and the moth would be free – but it would be too weak to survive. Struggle is nature’s way of strengthening it. Now this is the second time you’ve asked me for your drugs back… ask me again, and it’s yours.
Gotta love that right? I realized how true that was and it made me giddy that I could fully understand. Without my struggles I wouldn’t be who I am today. If someone would have just come along and fixed all of my problems (like I wished so very many times that they would) then this Dominee right here, writing about all of the stuff that this Dominee writes about, wouldn’t exist.
Every struggle that you go through makes you stronger.
You might wish with every fiber of your being that someone was there to stop the suffering (most times that only person that can stop it is you) but surviving it makes you stronger. It makes you more prepared to face the next struggle. Even if you don’t see it now, or a year from now, or five years from now, doesn’t mean it’s not buried under there somewhere. So often we hide our struggles behind layers of shame, fear, and guilt and that stops us from seeing the strength and the other gifts that come out of those situations.
To stand up and say, “This is what I went through. This is what I learned. Now I am stronger.” Is one of the greatest gifts of wisdom you can give yourself. Share your story. When you share your struggles and what you’ve learned from them, then you empower others to do the same.
What struggles have strengthened you? What struggles do you still feel shame and guilt about? Can you look deep within yourself and find any gifts that came from that?