“There is a secret medicine given only to those who hurt so hard they can’t hope. The hopers would feel slighted if they knew” -Rumi

I thought I’d always have hope, until I didn’t. I didn’t think I’d ever blame God until I did. I didn’t think I’d ever want to end my life, until I wanted to.

I experienced a good measure of tough experiences in my life. Things that were “biggies,” truly big enough that those would be “it”! I had my quota. I kept an inner prayer during those times, “better not bitter.” From an early age and with my faith, I approached hardships this way. I had met older, bitter people and inside I didn’t want to end up like that. I had heartbreaking experiences that led to a lot of soul-searching. I grew and kept believing, until I didn’t and couldn’t! I was all out of hope.

I was disillusioned by everything I believed in and had to work hard at my entire life. I didn’t know up from down and didn’t have my bearings. I had suffered unimaginable losses concurrently with trauma stacked on top of trauma.

I hurt so hard I could not hope.

In one of my many ongoing years of therapy during this recovery process, I remember my therapist handing me paper and an array of crayons and she asked me to draw out how I was feeling. The only color that called to me in this full spectrum was black. I limply pulled the crayon out and began to scribble all over the page. It was just a colored paper of blackness, which was all I could muster to express my feelings.

It didn’t happen then, but over time this utter blackness was opened by one tiny dot of something I thought might possibly be light. This was after season upon season of gut wrenching hopelessness. Things I didn’t think ever could happen, had happened and kept happening!

It wasn’t until I was in this utter blackness and loss of hope that the secret medicine could dispense. The unexpected dot of light produced a glimmer of possibility that something other than hopelessness may arise inside me. The dot of light began to expand and trust started to seep in. I had experienced moments in this darkness that my mind couldn’t comprehend, yet my heart knew were true. In the darkness, the lostness, the hopelessness, something happened to me as I learned to face my shadows and listened to what these parts had to teach me. Time and again, I surrendered. It was nothing my mind or willpower could conjure.

In my darkest moments, I was like a caterpillar in its cocoon certain only of impending doom— instead, surprised it emerged a butterfly. An unexpected transformation occurred in me, for me. A “secret medicine” only made known to those who’ve hurt so hard they can’t hope. It happened in the cocoon. Hope, Spirituality, and Life all had undergone transformation.

If you are in your own cocoon of hopelessness, you are not the darkness you’re going through. You are more; transformation encroaches. Your butterfly is emerging!

Cheri Thomas

Cheri works as a Peer Support Specialist for RI in Arizona. She has experienced loss and grief which has led her to write for the masses to bring voice to those in similar situations. Cheri possesses a deep passion to share with, encourage, and inspire others on what she calls the Journey of the Heart.