Just about every night I load my dog Abbey into the back seat of my car and I head out into the country. We sit in the car and listen to Audiobooks. Mostly I drive and let the world flow off of me. In those moments, I am crossing the space, my headlights shining, my dog excitedly sniffing the windows, the books reading themselves to me through the speakers, and I think, this is good.
It’s World Suicide Prevention Week, and I’ve written about suicide before. I know that creeping darkness that crushes down and pulls the life from inside you. I know what it’s like to hold a knife and think about the blood and pain. I don’t want to go there again, and I don’t think it’s going to help anyone for me to.
At night, when I’m riding down the dark, gravel roads, book blaring, dog panting, myself perfectly silent, I think. I think, “This is my light! I shine through the dark with companionship and knowledge!” Sometimes I think, “I really have to pee,” but mostly it’s the knowledge and companionship thing. Those are the moments when my brain finally stops and that mud that we call depression with it’s tendrils of sorrow, apathy, anger, shame and fear begins to melt and slosh from the edges of my brain. Those are the moments when I remember that there is something as beautiful as the dust of a gravel road, the waning moon and the precious few stars this close to the city.
I am awakened inside, and though I am isolated, I don’t feel alone.
Loneliness is the real killer. It is a gnawing beast that chews at the marrow of the resolved. In my car, in my safe space, with my dog and a book, I am not alone. I am part of something big, warm, and powerful. I am a fantasy fan, or a sad teenager, or a literary critic. I am connected to everyone else that has found meaning in words. I am connected to everyone else that finds beauty in the night. I am connected, and I remember things clearly.
I love the sky at night. I love driving.
I have found my place of peace and zen, and that is what I think is important.
Everyone should have a place where they feel connected. Everyone should find that place that is intimately theirs and embrace it.
On the county roads, south of Kansas City, a black Ford Focus is driving, windows down, audio book playing, dog sniffing the air. In that moment the driver is not lost in the dark. He is not a broken soul searching for meaning.
In that moment, he is the torch bearer.
Nothing, and I mean nothing in this world feels as amazing as being the torch bearer.
So, find your torch.