Resurrection of the Soul

Julie - Palisades, New York
Entered on November 9, 2008
Age Group: Under 18

I believe in resurrection. Now, please don’t be alarmed, I’m not going anywhere near religion with this piece. I mean resurrection of the soul. Corny? Just wait.

When I was in 6th grade, someone very dear to me was diagnosed as bipolar and depressed. To a 10 year old, these ideas were frightening because they were the unknown. I was just as terrified about the words “bipolar” and “depression” as I was about the monsters that lived under my bed and in my closet. I didn’t understand. I soon grew to hate those words. They were monsters, creeping in from the shadows, slinking past my gaze to snatch away my bright happiness, leaving me in the dead of night. I loathed them.

When my dearest friend took one too many bad turns and was hospitalized, I was dragged under the fog of pain by the reaching arms of the monsters, their talons leaving marks on my heart. My life was a blur, unrecognizable—just a kaleidoscope of colors and shadows.

Disaster struck again, pulling me deeper into the fire of pain and destruction. I felt as if I was a plague, infecting all around me, immune to my own virus. The people dearest to me were being tainted and annihilated one by one as I watched helplessly form a distance, enable to make a difference. New words like anorexia, cutting, medication, borderline personality, abuse, therapy, obsessive compulsive, suicide and death, swirled around me, mixing into my kaleidoscope view. These new words dulled all colors, making the view through the kaleidoscope a murky, bloody pool of despair.

Years passed, changing everything as they did. Some recovered from my plague. Others never did. For a long time I hated them. I hated all of them for being so weak, for not being strong enough to fight through the haze of illness. For leaving me. Alone. With no one but the monsters in the shadows to keep me company. I hated them for the pain they caused me. But most of all, I hated them because I needed someone, something, to hate. I couldn’t hate the monsters that crept past, the monsters that stole my happiness to a place where I couldn’t follow. I couldn’t hate the monsters who took the ones a loved most away form me. And so I hated my loved ones.

But soon I came to realize that hating them was not fair. It was a long time before I recognized who my hate was really saving itself for—stewing in the darkest, dreariest corner of my mind for years, building. I hated myself. It was I who was not strong enough. It was I who failed to keep my watchful guard up. It was I who did not, could not, protect my loved ones from the monsters who stole past me in the night while I slept. It was I who was the plague that destroyed everything. For years I carried the weight of guilt.

Through this entire journey, pieces of my soul broke off. A piece here and there from the overwhelming hatred. A few pieces form guilt. But most pieces, all pieces, from pain. I felt drained, like I was living off one little scrap left over, and I was fighting to keep it alive. It was one bright speck of hope in the dark I was drowning in.

But one day realization hit. I knew what it was I needed, and something in me grew, giving me enough strength to retrieve salvation. I needed forgiveness. I needed everyone I’d hurt to know how horribly regretful I was, and I needed their forgiveness. All I asked in return was that I receive an apology. Selfish? Most definitely. But how could I completely recover if I still held anger and resentment in my bones?

After receiving my apologies with warm, open arms, all my loved ones willingly apologized in return. With each apology, I was given back a piece of my soul. I was no longer cut up, hacked into oblivion. I was reassembled slowly, some wounds taking more time to heal than others. But eventually, I was complete again.

I now know that, even after facing the worst of situations, all you need is forgiveness. If you can find the strength to ask for forgiveness, and receive forgiveness willingly, then resurrection of the soul is yours for the taking. Don’t hold grudges, don’t let an inconsequential tiff blacken your soul. Something I realized on my journey to redemption, my path to resurrection: the monsters simmering in the blackness were not monsters at all; they were the people who never forgave, and were never forgiven, and so turned into unrecognizable demons, ruining the lives of others. If you wish to be free, as I am, then please pick up the phone, or a pen and paper, and forgive. I believed there was no turning back from my pain, but I was wrong. Don’t be a monster. Resurrect your soul.