Mostly, I want this space to bring a sense of “Really? Me, too!” to my readers. I don’t want to be the woman who has it all figured out and now wants to tell you how it should go. We all bring our own stuff to our lives and, therefore, view life through that lens. This is just a glimpse into where I was before I finally was able to get it all down in words. Maybe you can relate some days.
I’m sitting here with this dratted depression I’ve been carrying around for a week, like a beloved but obese cat. I come to this “quiet room” at my local library to read, write, and stare off into the distance.
It is my “safe space”, as the kids call it these days. Where I can be in a filthy black mood all by myself with no one to talk me out of it. Other readers/depressionists file in and out, obeying the written command to be quiet, eyes downcast so we don’t have to look on each other’s griefs and thus sink lower. Or, at least, that’s where I imagine they are, along with me.
There are several stiff, unyielding chairs and hard desks in here, for a multitude of us to toss and turn in. Why can’t they have comfortable chairs in a library, for cryin’ out loud? Crazy…
The truth is, I’m not in the mood to write and none but the most bloody and violent of spy stories hold my attention for long. (I truly believe I could be dangerous in these funks of mine, except I’m too tired to be physical).
I’m in that distracted state of depression lately where I eat too much and am unsettled in my mind, body, and spirit. As though food will fill up the hole in me. As though moving to a different chair or staying away from home will bring me just the amount of release I need.
I’m so angry with myself. It’s summer, my kids are home, it’s a pretty day out, I’ve been losing weight before now by being disciplined. Suddenly I erase it all with these dark thoughts and poor choices.
I’m angry at the characters in the boring books – as if it is their fault they can’t hold my interest. As if they wrote their own story.
Let’s face it – more than depressed, I’m angry. I feel it in my tight shoulders, my twisted brow, and my gritted teeth. What am I so angry about? What has changed from last month to this to put me in such a vile mood?
I don’t struggle with depression too often. However, I have been here often enough to know that these feelings are temporary. Tomorrow the hormones will shift, there will be a gentle rain outside, one of my boys will be kind and complimentary instead of teenagerish, and all will be right with the world again. What kind of fickle princess shifts moods that easily?!
Opening my laptop. I read stuff I’ve written on good days and scoff. (Such a lovely, descriptive word – scoff!) Who is this goody-two-shoes who thinks quoting a few Bible verses and pithy motivational quotes is all one needs to stay the darkness creeping nearer? That slathering pretty words over a wound will seal up the broken edges and bring healing?
I gather my belongings – computer, purse, notepad – and stomp out of the room, slamming the door behind me (which, unsatisfactorily – is that a word? – doesn’t slam because it’s on one of those pneumatic-hinge-thingies. Annoying). Yes. I know that’s rude in the library but at this point I’m behaving childishly.
Raging through the parking lot to my car, I slide in and slam the door. This time, it is loud and shakes my vehicle.
Yes! I pump my fist.
Now out of my mouth comes hysterical laughter and out of my eyes come tears. I feel like the babies in the Facebook videos, that are crying as they laugh. It’s adorable on the babies – not so cute on a grown woman, I’m sure.
I drop my face into my hands in the silence of the car.
“Help,” I pray.
That’s it. No big, fancy liturgy of a prayer. Just one word.
And I feel heard deep down to the marrow of my bones. I can almost hear the groaning of the Holy Spirit within me, saying those things to the Lord I just can’t seem to put sentences to. (Romans 8:26)
My shoulders relax, my jaw unclenches, and I drop my head to the back of the seat of the car.
I sit there in the quiet a few minutes longer, letting my senses fill up with the music of the evening around me.
Hum of a car engine.
Someone’s music cranked up loud in their car a few aisles over.
A chatty child with her mom as they walk into the library.
I turn my head on the seat to face the western horizon. The sun is well on its way down to the edge of the sky.
It’s one of those unforgettable Texas sunsets, with billowing clouds mixed in with slivers of clouds, all glowing pink and purple and orange. It’s God’s gift to just me at this moment, I’m sure of it.
“Thank You,” I murmur to my Jesus, who has been in the thick of the messiness before.
I sit up, turn on the car, and ease out of the parking space. Quieter now in mind and spirit. Ready to face the Next.