When reminiscing with an old high school friend about the adventures we had and the days that made us regret getting up to go to school in the morning, she remarked about how different my demeanor was from sophomore year.
She asked me what had given me hope. Whoah, that was a big question. I looked at her with one of those side glances that means, "and I am supposed to come up with a thoughtful and intelligent answer for you while we are sitting here? Are you kidding me?" Her question was one that required some pizzaz that I just didn't have at the moment and I said something about just wanting a life that had some more substance than the one I knew I would have if I stayed in New Jersey.
After that, I just wrote the question off, thinking that I had given an answer that satisfied her and wasn't that important to me at the moment.
However, tonight after visiting another friend, who just got married and had a child, and her extended family I realized the importance of the question and how many dimensions it has. Sitting and talking about old times, especially times when I was really struggling with the history of child abuse and being a foster child, I realized how out of touch I am with those hardships now.
I left their house hoping for some time to think alone. Knowing a great place for solitude, I stopped at a place overlooking the Barnegat Bay. This was the first time in my life that I saw the light from the Lighthouse clearly. I could even see the outlining of the lighthouse itself. The scene was beautiful.
Looking at the lighthouse, I realized that this was my answer to my friend's question: At the time that I was going through the abuse and was in foster care, I was too preoccupied with the chaos to notice what gave me hope. My struggles served as a very dense fog. I know there was some beacon of hope out there, but it wasn't clear and I couldn't see where it was coming from. I just kept going because I knew that something was there, and it was faintly breaking through. Today, I can see that beacon of light and hope so much better. I can tell you what it looks like, but when I needed it the most those details didn't matter. It just mattered that it was there, that it existed.