• Meg Herndon


One minute you’re 13 and walking home after school. You’re singing a new song you just learned and twirling around. Everything feels light and innocent, and you feel the sunshine on your face, and you believe with all of your heart that the world is good and beautiful. That nothing can hurt you and all people are kind and have good intentions, and the world is an image of open arms and warm embraces.

And then...

You’re 27, and the weight of evil and wrong are heavy on your shoulders. The loss of innocence is heartbreaking, and what was once bright is now dark, and you couldn’t possibly imagine the world being so cruel and cold, but you find yourself sobbing in your car and wondering if you could ever feel like your old self again. Or if your new self can feel both light and dark and survive?

And you think of that little girl. She’s sweet and kind and naive. She doesn’t know what you know. She doesn’t feel what you feel. The little girl's eyes shine with innocence, and she believes in the light. Because to her evil isn't possible. You’re heartbroken by the thought that all of that will be shattered. She’ll feel pain and loss and heartbreak, and she’ll contemplate how in the world someone could hurt her. Why would someone want to hurt anyone?

She’ll question everything she knows.

And then you’ll tell her, pain is essential. Happiness isn’t continuous. Life cannot be controlled and neither can people. Pain makes you stronger if you let it. You can’t push it away and hope it doesn’t resurface. You have to look hurt in the eye. Then the pain will lessen, and your heart will heal. It’s not the same because we never are after experiencing darkness. Your heart becomes a mosaic of broken pieces and has a story to tell.

You realize the weight of evil isn’t yours to carry, and you can still believe in the good of the world and its people.

You can trust again.

You can breathe.

Happiness still exists, and you can twirl again and feel the sunshine on your face again.