A mighty flame followeth a tiny spark.
Dante Alighieri

dad butterfly

What lies hidden
Beneath the smile
The pain
The anguish
The suffering
Mental Illness
It cannot be seen
But it is real
How tiresome it must be
To hurt with no visible wound
To struggle with no visible burden
To ache with no visible bruise
Hidden beneath the smile
How lonely it must feel
It’s all in your mind
People will say
Snap out of it
You will be told
Get it together
The daily mantra
But hidden beneath the smile
The suffering is real
It metastisizes in the darkness
It spreads from cell to cell
Tell me please
The truth of your suffering
Tell me please
What I can do to ease your burden
Tell me please
If death feels like the only way out
It’s not
Tell me please
What it is that you feel
When I ask
How are you
Answer me with honesty
Allow me to see your vulnerability
Allow me to see your suffering
Allow me to see your pain
Allow me to know your truth
I will believe it
I will honor it
I will tend to it
I will care for it
I will give you my hand
I will lift you up when you’ve fallen
I will not run
I will not offer you platitudes
I will not ask you for proof
That your illness exists
I will not pretend to know just how you feel
But I will love you
All of you
Even the flawed and broken pieces
I will be present
I know there is pain
It lies beneath the smile
Do not carry it alone
You matter
You have purpose
The divine spark is within you
Though it may feel dim
The divine spark is within you
Though you do not feel worthy
The divine spark is within you
You matter
You are loved
Your story is not over
Because hidden beneath the smile
Hidden beneath the pain
Hidden beneath the illness
Hidden beneath the suffering
Deep within you
God’s spark
The eternal light
Still flickers
It’s embers still dance
I will take your hand
I will be with you
Until the day comes
That the flicker
Becomes a flame
That you can once again feel it
That warm glow
The divine spark
And know
How very precious
How very loved
How perfectly imperfect
You truly are….


At times our own light goes out and is rekindled by a spark from another person. Each of us has cause to think with deep gratitude of those who have lighted the flame within us.
Albert Schweitzer