In a deep ravine, in the dead of night, two figures stand facing each other. 

One is mighty and tall.  His silver armor gleams. He holds a long sword in his left hand.  On his belt are two daggers.  Each of his weapons have been crafted with great care and skill, the product of patience, artistry, and respect for the weapon.  The figure stands tall and proud with eyes that shine with purpose.  He is Light.

The other figure is decrepit and ancient.  His armor is an assortment of leather and hide, bits and pieces taken from those he has defeated before.  A black curved blade is worn on his belt.  There is also a single dagger and a handful of trophies: small items from his previous victims.  A cross.  A charm from a bracelet.  A bit of skin.  A tooth.  The figure reeks of evil and malice as if the Earth itself has spit him out of its dismal depths.  He is Darkness.

Darkness draws his sword and strikes the first blow.  Light’s sword comes up to block the move with ease.  As they fight, it is clear that both of them are skilled.  Light moves with grace and fluidity while Darkness’ moves are marked by aggression and anger. 

It is Darkness who speaks first.  “You cannot win.  I am he that crushes light.  I am your lord.”  Light says nothing; he only continues to fight.  “You think you are safe?” Darkness continues.  “You think you are protected by your master or your skill or your realm?  I am he who comes to destroy.  I am he who will consume your soul.”

Light falters for a moment under the blow of Darkness’ sword.  “You are not as strong as you think,” says Light.  “You draw your power from despair and shame.  I am unacquainted with these.  I am driven by hope and truth.  I am powered by love and goodness.”

Darkness scoffs.  “Love?  Who loves you?  What is there to love about you?  You think yourself worthy of love?  Why would anyone or anything have a care for you?  You are nothing.”  As the fight continues, doubt and fear creep into the mind of Light.  Darkness’ sword pushes harder; his strokes are quick and precise.

“See?” Darkness said.  “Even now you doubt.  You question your abilities.  You question your purpose.”  Light continues to fight bravely but it becomes harder for him to parry Darkness’ strikes.  Darkness seems to be moving with impossible speed and his sword feels as though it is imbued with rage and madness.  Light is pushed back toward the ravine’s edge.  He looks over his shoulder to the approaching cliff.  Darkness kicks him down and Light falls to the ground. 

“Kneel before me,” Darkness said.  “I am your lord.  I am your master.  I know your thoughts and I am in your mind.” 

Light breathes heavily.  Sweat pours down his brow.  His hands are nicked and scuffed.  His armor is dented and his sword seems dulled. 

“You belong to me,” the Darkness said.  As he speaks these words, Light slowly looks up at Darkness. 

Light raises his head looking straight into the eyes of his opponent.  “You do not own me,” Light said. 

With renewed vigor and strength, Light attacks Darkness.  Darkness is taken aback for a moment but then fire and rage burn in his eyes. 

The fight that came before seems like child’s play compared to the battle they fight now.  Each blow is more powerful than the one before it, every movement carefully calculated and swiftly executed. 

Light draws one of his daggers and stabs Darkness in the leg.  Darkness shrieks a horrendous sound that pierces the ears and makes the skin crawl.  His blade comes up just in time to block Light’s powerful downward stroke. 

Light drives Darkness to the edge of the ravine and with one mighty blow, Light knocks Darkness to the ground sending his curved blade flying into the canyon below. 

“You lose,” says Light.

His sword finds its final mark.  


The New Year

Out with the old, in with the new.  Resolutions.  Parties.  Drinks all around.  Countdowns.

This is New Year’s Eve in America and across the world.

There is something extremely hopeful and encouraging about starting fresh.  The new allows us to leave the past in its place.  We gather courage and excitement from new endeavors and journeys.

In a word, we are refreshed.

And yet, the new is absolutely terrifying.  The things that make it exciting are the very things that strike fear in our hearts.  We do not know what the new looks like.  What if it turns out to be terrible?  What if I face obstacles I can not overcome?

What if all my worst fears become a reality?

The new things in our lives will never have as much value or meaning if we do not conquer our fears in order to achieve our hopes and dreams.

This year, accept your anxieties, worries, and fears but do not let them paralyze you.  Be bold and have courage.  This year is going to be good.