Dark Dirt

Digging in the dirt
Stay with me, I need support
I’m digging in the dirt
To find the places I got hurt

– Peter Gabriel

I was reading a little parable about a man who was looking for his keys under a streetlamp. A cop came up to him and asked what he was doing.  The man told him and the cop started helping him look. After a while the cop said, “Are you sure you lost your keys here? ” and the man said, “No, I lost them a ways back but this is where the light is. And I’m afraid of the dark.”

I’ll admit, I didn’t get this at first.  But after some time and letting it settle it made more sense to me.  If the keys are analogous to the thing that sets us free (emotionally and/ or spiritually) and the dark is analogous to our wounds, then we have to be willing to go into the dark to seek the keys to freedom. In other words, until we can fully experience our own grief, sorrow, and pain, self compassion is out of reach. If we can’t have compassion for ourselves, then it’s impossible to have compassion for others. Without compassion, humans are irritable and plagued by selfishness.

It’s terrifying to look inward.  Pride tells us that we don’t need to.  Fear tells us that we simply can’t. We rationalize, “That was in the past. Everything is fine now. Why not just let sleeping dogs lie?” and maybe that’s the case.  However, if you find yourself stuck in a pattern of behavior that holds you hostage, then it’s time to start, as Peter Gabriel says, “Digging in the dirt/ find the places we’ve been hurt.”

Just For Today

I’m going to watch for patterns, ruts where I may be stuck.  It may be financial, relational, professional.  Wherever these patterns present themselves I will reserve self judgement and adopt a sense of curiosity. Maybe I can ask a trusted friend to “Stay with me” and uncover the origin of these patterns. With one burst of effort, I will untangle from these thought and behavior patterns and let them go.


Going into the dark dirt alone is never a good idea. I ask you, the Lover of my soul, to dig alongside me.  Grant me peace and courage to face the origins of my wounds. Heal my heart and give me the ability to let it go.  Work with me to co-create space for the new thing that you have in mind for me.  Your vantage point is much higher than mine and I trust that you love me and you know exactly what I need.

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