After 20 years of living in the same neighborhood, when you move to another one, as has been my case, it takes days or weeks for the mind to land in the new place. At first, I still gave to the taxi driver my old address in Gràcia, only to remember I no longer lived there once I arrived.

To overcome nostalgia, you begin to discover other places that will end up shaping your new world. One of them is the bar with the message that heads this article. ‘There’s a Light That Never Goes Out’ was a song recorded by The Smiths in 1985, but it suggests much more to me.

Whether we go through a radiant or a dark phase of life, within each person there’s a flame that quietly illuminates us as long as we have life. The Indians say that we only possess what we cannot lose in a shipwreck. And what is that? You may lose your possessions and wealth, your plans for the future, your partner, your physical vigor, the color of your hair, but as long as the flame of life stirs within you, the adventure continues.

I like to imagine that this fire shines inside a crystal chandelier, whose color defines our view of life. When that glass is dirty or made opaque by the dust accumulated on roads that lead nowhere, we feel in the dark. However, that darkness is only temporary until we find the potion that restores its transparency.

There are different formulae to clean this crystal, but in all of them, there is one common component — love. Love for someone, for a new project, for oneself, for life… makes the dirt fall from the lamp so that we radiate light again.

That love, however, cannot be rushed. The darkness that separates us from the world has its reason for being. It is like a cocoon that protects us while, like the butterfly, we turn into something else. It is a retirement cell to understand what we have lived and, more importantly, what we want to live. It is for some important reason that we are here.

Far from the absurd belief that you have to be permanently happy, life is a game of lights and shadows. There are moments to shine and moments to remain in the crypt, covered in sadness, to form our next pair of wings.

For this reason, I find it admirable that people at the peak of success like Naomi Osaka – the first Japanese tennis player to be # 1 in the world – dare to admit that they go through a period of anxiety or depression and move away from the noise of the world under the motto (as it was published in Time Magazine): It’s okay not to be okay.

For this dark crystal to become transparent, in my opinion, three things are necessary: acceptance, friends and time.

Acceptance of who you are and where you are at this point in your life, without trying to escape or speed up the process artificially. Patient friends who know how to listen and accompany you without judging you or giving you their solutions, without pushing you to do what you are not yet ready to do. Because the third ingredient is time; as in nature, things take their natural course.

I had good friends during my time in the crypt, and now I try to accompany those who are in the dark. On my WhatsApp, I usually have at least one contact anchored to remind me every day to talk to this person, even if only to comment on a book that I have sent him/her or a movie that we are sharing.

When the person begins to delay the answers or does it in a more concisely way, I understand that he/she no longer needs daily support and I remove the anchor to the contact. The glass has cleared enough for the light to gain ground over the shadows. It is a matter of time before this person fully returns to life.

As philosopher Henry David Thoreau said, ‘If we will be quiet and ready enough, we shall find compensation in every disappointment.’

Happy week!


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Francesc Miralles

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