Today I met someone who had climbed many mountains, someone who had traced and retraced their steps through icy storms, wind-chilled nights and cold, blustery days in their struggle to survive. I met another person who had braved the dry sands of the barren desert. A person who had crossed the harsh grains of sand and dismal dirt, someone who had suffered with the heaviness of a high, hot, humid air and someone who had suffered the fiery temperature of deep repression in an attempt to reach out and feel the beauty that awaits them on the other side. A beauty outlined with magnificent grace that shows colorful flowers of red, yellow, green, violet and orange, a color for each line of the rainbow. A place filled with magnificent splendor of sunshine, warmth, balance and prosperity.

What I did not realize as I spoke with each of these people is that they are one in the same. Someone just like you and me who continues to push forward only to wonder if the mountains we climb today will result in a sunshine for tomorrow. These two people share the same body, the same mind, the same physical nature, yet they are different. These two sides of the personality show people who are struggling and those faced with tremendous decisions in an evolution of vast unknowns. The gray skies may indicate worry of money for food on our table or the loss of people in our lives, including our own self-identity. The icy storms may indicate traffic jams that stop us short of reaching our goal for this day, tomorrow or forever. The barren sand, well, no-one likes to have sand in their shoe as it just irritates us during our walk. Each of these roads seems so long, yet before we know it tomorrow has come and gone and we are now into a new week. But truth is told, regardless of the storm today, we each hold within us a brightly burning candle of creativity and beauty that is waiting to emerge. If only we could get past the voice of the outside influences, those who keep us down and out, those who hold us back, those who say, “you can’t do that”; if only we could look upward instead of down towards the barren ground and understand that each of us hold special gifts, each of us have special talents and each of us need each other. If we could, for one brief moment each day reach towards the sky and know that there is someone out there who can help change our situation, that there is someone who cares for our today and tomorrow, that there is someone who shares our every minute, if we could take just a moment to believe, then we could know that we to can weather the storm. What we might find is ourselves, looking at the face of God and trusting that we are never alone and believing that we should never give up. God never gives up on us; it is us who gives up on ourselves.

In a time of upheaval, downward economies and personal lay-offs, we allow the prejudices and judgments of the outside world to keep us from seeing the true beauty of our vibrant colors within. I am a true testimony to that. As I glance in the mirror, I (like you) see shades of gray; they surround my face, my arms, my legs and my body. They cause me to slump at the shoulders in my attempt to bare the burdens of life. The gray permits me forget that I have walked this road many times before, yet it must provide hope that I may never have to walk it again before this life is over. It takes all the strength that I can find to stay in front of that mirror and meet the true beauty that lies just below the narrow surface of my skin. Then suddenly and unexpectedly, for a brief time, the grey dismal haze fritters away, allowing a golden glow to surround me. It is now that I can perceive the child-like but intense complex beauty within. It is during this moment that I believe. Yes, I am someone, someone whose small simple smile creates beauty for others to see. This smile propels me from the mirrored darkness and provides a calm inner assurance that I am never alone.

As I continue to reflect in this light, I begin to witness the underpinning surface of my steel blue-gray eyes. I observe lines of white, red and blue, colors that remind me that even now there is life within. These new lines repeat the sounds of independence that our forefathers taught us about and fought so hard to win. The First Continental Congress had no idea of how to build a country, but they knew it would take great teamwork, great sacrifice and strong integrity of belief to separate us from England and establish us as a mighty democracy, one that could become the Greatest Superpower in the World. This first victory did not occur overnight, nor did it happen without struggle and dedication. Stories of George Washington relay how he spent many nights in the cold blustery snow banks of the Potomac and Delaware. These same stories tell of how he worked in the fields during the heat of summer to raise money after his numerous occasions of “being broke”. Through the accounts of his life story, we have come to understand that he had to continuously fight to be heard and fight also to have his ideas approved. I envision his struggle to be similar to our own. It probably involved a personal inner struggle of self-awareness, an awareness that helped him establish his own belief system and strength of vision for America. But it also involved an outer strength of courage and compassionate truth when dealing with those who held the upper reins of that day’s Army. Still, he knew that change began with himself and that he would not sacrifice his own beliefs just to “ride the wave” of profit makers. Through his trials and troubles, George Washington understood the vastness of darkness but he always believed that he, along with the brave men who stayed in his care, could survive the depths of the storm, if, and only if, they maintained their roots and never gave up the fight.

Our struggles of today may be as mighty as a raging storm within; one almost out of control. On any given day we may encounter that mountain of snow only to wonder if it will be followed by a ray of sunshine, but we must never give up the fight. We must decide our own course and future and look within to know our strengths and weaknesses and remember that on any given day, that one ray of sun will shine. If we look within, if we slow just a bit from our daily avenue of withdrawn pressure and pride, we too may catch a glimpse of the creativity and inner beauty that lies within. My travels, both literally and figuratively, have taken me far from home, places where I thought the snow covered mountains would never subside. And during one dark journey, I awoke one morning with a challenge: I declared that I would provide a simple smile and hello for everyone who crossed my path that day. What I found was two-fold: this simple smile changed my own internal attitude for how I felt about myself and my situation, and it also brought people into my life who were willing to open their own hearts to help me thru this self-perceived personal struggle. The people were always there, they were waiting for me to remove the damp heavy snow clouds from my eyes and open my heart to receive. We are never alone. And we must never give up the fight, what we must do is realize the challenge and hold firmly to it to catch that next ray of hope. What challenge might you provide to your own soul today to help you find the beauty within?

Author's Bio: 

Susan is a Holistic Health Counselor in North Augusta, South Carolina. Her studies of Chinese, Indian and American healing modalities has provided a well-rounded measure for success and motiviation. She provides individual counseling, conducts seminars and lectures and has a great propensity to help our Veterans.