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Emily Dean

What we see, think, and feel is what is. But what if we actually aren’t all that trustworthy?

February moved in for the month unpacking dreary weather and an aura of gloom. As the sun hid for days my body dragged itself from one place to the other, my mind as foggy as the view to the outside. The gloom seeped over into everything: my mood, my conversations, my work, my attitude. Suddenly I felt like a different person than who I thought I was. The energy, patience, and kindness I once had was replaced with sluggishness, irritability, and brashness. Is this who I really am? I wondered. Is my being dependent upon the changes in weather?

Many people have proclaimed that we should trust ourselves to be a gauge of the world around us. What we see, think, and feel is what is. But what if we actually aren’t all that trustworthy? What if we are undeniably dependent upon other elements? What if there are seasons where we walk around with blurry vision? Who can we trust then?

Currently, I am re-reading a lovely little memoir called “English Lessons.” The author describes dealing with a crisis of faith. Her world suddenly looked different and the truths she once held close seemed further away. Her vision of the world around her was flipped on its head and she wondered who and what to believe. In the midst of this crisis she met a friend who had a strength in his belief that she desired. It wasn’t loud or overbearing, but gentle and constant.

This friend became her “head light.” A person in front of her, guiding her along the journey when she felt unable to see on her own.

In the midst of this gloomy February when all seems blurry and not as it once was, I’ve needed others to be this sort of light. I need others to speak truth to me. My vision is hazy, so I ask them to describe the world around me. To help me remember what it is like and what is real.

The first time I read “English Lessons” was right after I had moved to a new state for a job. It was given to me by a coworker at this job for my birthday, only a few days after I had made the move. This coworker (who became, and still is, a dear friend) modeled what the author in this memoir wrote about. In a new place with new people she was my head light. She was helping me navigate a world I didn’t understand and she did it with kindness, grace, and patience.

There will inevitably be seasons in our lives when we are unable to see clearly. This is when we ask others to go before us and help us find our way. Hopefully you will also have the opportunity to walk along someone who needs this source of light. As you walk with them I pray you remember to leave your judgement aside and remember the times you’ve needed this support.

To be a headlight for someone else, and to ask for one, is part of the gift of doing life with others. May we always seek to lead, and be led, to truth, kindness, and grace.

Article by Savannah Morgan | Photography by Hilary Hyland