Hope in the Darkness

Jon Acton
4 min readDec 31, 2023

12/31/23 — New Years Eve

Hope in the Darkness

It is December 31st, 2023, New Years Eve Day. This evening parties will take place all over the globe with celebrations of another year completed and a new year ready to begin.

For some, this is another chance to search for light and Hope in the darkness. Count me in the “some” club. I experienced some Joyous moments in 2023. I believe the new cool phrase calls these “glimmers.” If my mind could remember in greater detail, maybe the “glimmers” were longer than short bursts of Joy. Maybe they were extended moments, days even weeks of Bliss. Maybe. A brain that has been compromised by chemo has created a perpetual mush mind, where memories are difficult to hold onto. To see clearly. To remember anything at all.

2023 also brought pain and sadness that seeped deep into my bones. Emotions that have not just lingered as sort of a funk or rut in life. No, the knock you on your ass pain and sadness that doubles a person over in despair and cheerlessness. Which of course, the mush mind seems to function perfectly clear to replay over and over these “anti-glimmer” moments of misery. The Never-ending Story of Suck. Maybe you can relate. I hope not.

Deep in the middle of remembering AND feeling with 5k clarity one of the Stories of Suck from 2023, a sign arrived. Not the comedian Bill Engvall, “Here’s your sign” declaration of duncehood, but rather a flash of positivity that I cannot ignore. I embarrassingly admit proficiency at ignoring signs most of my life. The choice to downplay, minimize, ignore positive and negative signs has only draped a dark and cold blanket around my entire self. Maybe you can relate. I hope not.

Out of nowhere I received a text/picture from a fraternity brother at Indiana University. (Acacia) A forever friend created over thirty years ago that somehow knew to send the right picture with the right words at just the right time. A “glimmer “in time that paused the Suck, showed Hope during this season of Hopelessness and flashed a “glimmer” of light in the pitch-black darkness. I no longer think signs are merely coincidences. This wasn’t sent and received out of nowhere. Maybe you can relate? I hope so.

Right before I received this “Hope in the Darkness” message, some dark thoughts were creeping into my head. The kind of thoughts that snowball when life piles on. Those moments when you don’t think you can handle one more thing, and like…

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Jon Acton

Husband, Father, Former School Superintendent, National Blue Ribbon School Principal, Teacher, Coach, Author in progress