The other evening I attended a lecture by Jeanette Walls, author of The Glass Castle and Half Broke Horses. You are probably familiar with the story of her dysfunctional childhood: severely burning herself while cooking hot dogs over a stove at three years of age; sleeping in cardboard boxes, rummaging through garbage cans for food; stealing; living in filth amidst cats and wounded vultures; and other terrifying incidents. Hers is a story where the children parent, but somehow, in spite of all the craziness, her parents managed to seed dreams and fantasies in their offspring, enough at least to help Walls and her siblings recast their lives.

For this, Walls is grateful. “There is a great blessing in learning how strong you are,” she says. “Your scars are a sign that you survived.”

It’s true that most of us have scars and that those imperfections are precisely what lend texture and meaning to our lives. You are no less worthy for admitting hurt or sharing pain; on the contrary, you are richer for it. Freer and more connected with humanity.

“Everything in life is both a blessing and a curse,” says Walls.

She couldn’t be more right.

What about you? In what ways have you been able to find light amidst the darkness?

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