BY MICHAEL ARMIJO
Doug was a simple guy who had worked hard to be “normal.” His upbringing wasn’t the best, but Doug beat the odds and found life within his spiritual realm. He found God and decided that his true place in life was with Him. He wanted to come out of the darkness and stand strong into the light.
One day Doug stood in line at a mini-mart when a young woman came in. He immediately noticed her long brown hair, her beautiful eyes, and her slightly crooked smile. She raced in for her purchase, and without noticing, dropped a fifty-dollar bill on the floor.
As he hesitated, Doug remembered his obligation to stand in the light. He remembered that he attends church on Sundays, and needs to do what is right; but he didn’t. A little voice in Doug’s head whispered, “Pick up the money and put it in your pocket.” He picked up the fifty, placed it in his pocket, and turned the negative into a positive by bragging about how “lucky” he was.
Soon after, he reexamined his actions and tried to justify them. He thought to himself, “God wanted me to have this money; he knew how much I needed it.” And then the guilt set in. He wasn’t comfortable attending church on Sundays, and he began to run from his guilt by not caring anymore. Doug was lost to guilt and temptation.
Several weeks went by and Doug’s dishonesty grew. He felt content about his new place because he received things he didn’t earn; he took things that he didn’t deserve. His ‘cheating the system’ helped him receive tangible items that he usually couldn’t afford. And then one day a friend invited him back to church and Doug was faced with an uncomfortable decision: Do I continue my wicked ways, or do I go back to the light?
If Doug was to give up his newfound lifestyle, he would then have to change what he was taking from others. He would have to exchange his financial riches for spiritual ones. Honesty would once again have to prevail in his life. All the taking, which had grown into a disease, would have to transform into giving. But Doug was afraid of doing what was right.
I believe that honesty doesn’t just happen, and to many, it has to be taught. To truly stand strong in the light requires commitment and focus on the bigger picture. And although life has given me unpredictable waves that have created confusion within my own life, I still believe that there is something out there, a higher power, and an incredible universe that shines brighter than imaginable. In those moments when we do the right thing, when we feel inexplicable happiness and peace, we draw from this power and feel the benefit of this light.
I hope for Doug, and the many others who have fallen into the darkness of life, that they can overcome their fears about love, affection, honesty, intimacy, goodness and truth. And is it really easier to live in that fear within the darkness? When we are able to overcome and understand who we really are, where we are going, and what we believe in, these elements of truth help keep us free from sin, pain, and being fearful. At that time we will have no fear, and we will stand strong with our hearts full of that light.