By Tiffany Sweeney

Life is filled with storms. Some you can see coming from miles away, and others take you by surprise.

Life throws us a number of storms and allows us the opportunity to really peer into ourselves. We can examine these storms: the storms that have started out with a slow sprinkle and gradually build, the storms that have struck like lightning and reverberated as thunder, and everything in between from hail, strong winds, and a constant drizzle that just does not want to go away.

Each time, being in the midst of the storm, we feel the weight upon us. The heavy darkness surrounds us. We feel like the light may never shine again.

Yet, the sun finally makes its appearance. It may pop out of the sky, shining bright to evaporate all that weight. Other times, it slowly seeps from behind the clouds. And sometimes, we are lucky to have that sunshine accompanied by a rainbow of colors.

Just when you think the sun is going to seep out of those clouds, it may once again disappear in the rages of the storm. However, we can glimpse those colors popping through the gray. And though we know the storm has not ended, we need to hold out hope that it will once again pass. In the end, we are able to see the benefits of the rain as the green grows bold around us. We are able to see the growth of the flowers and plants surrounding us. We feel the the sun winking.

We find the warmth in relearning our loves and passions. We feel the growth in our strength we used to fight through the storm. We see the benefits when we learn to rediscover ourselves. It may not always feel like we can endure the darkness, but the light is always there. We just have to wait for the right time, open our eyes, and let the storm wash away the old and cultivate the new.

If you are feeling the darkness surrounding you, reach out for the light. Talk to a friend, seek professional help, or call the Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255. We never have to face the darkness alone.