I am five days past deadline for this post when I see a message pop up on my Voxer app. There are 154 unanswered ones, never listened to. Ignored. Seeing it is another reminder that I have a life and responsibilities and people depending on me, and I’ve let them all down. Again.
My husband comes home each evening after work when winter’s early sun has set to find me where he left me when the sun was rising. Sometimes I hear his footsteps, thudding purposefully, a heavy noise less from the weight of his steel-toed work boots and more from all he carries on his broad shoulders. They pause in the hall outside our bedroom, and I close my eyes and pretend to be sleeping when the shaft of light enters so he won’t catch me staring blankly at the wall with nothing but darkness in my view. I cannot smooth the worry in his brow or ease his fear with tidy answers. We are here again together in the darkness, and no matter how hard he keeps trying to push or pull or drag me into the light, it’s as if my eyes have been gouged and no light can enter.
I’ve been in bed for a few weeks now. I’ve tried to get up, tried to shower, tried to feed myself. Mostly, I’ve failed at all of those things. When it’s all said and done, I find myself back in bed, pulling the blinds closed and the duvet up. I lie for hours resting from my exhaustion, from my depression, from my overwhelm and sadness, yet I gain no such peace.
This depression brings emptiness in my soul like a husk, brittle and transparent. I’ve lost my longing for things, the God-given desire to want — to want Him, to want joy, to want to keep breathing and seeing sunsets and eating pie. To keep writing and rising and facing the world — it’s gone. I want for nothing.
I’ve taken to counting. Sometimes I count to sixty or 320 or 1,000, and then I start over. I think to myself, I will survive for another minute, for another five, for another ten. My mind is empty and slow — so, so tired.
No one says that waiting on the Lord might look like this. That waiting for God to heal, through therapists and psychiatrists, antidepressants and antipsychotics, anxiety meds, prayer or counting, or staring at a wall in bed might be the only thing I can manage to survive one more day at a time.
But there is something to be said about this story, this waiting. The in and through of it all.
Often, we can’t form our lips around the words in the midst of our own pain, our own trials, and we are so immersed in our story that it’s hard to get perspective enough to share it. Sometimes we do need time to heal, to process, to let it breathe, to close our eyes and count to ten.
But there is something about the perspective when you are right in the middle of it all that is powerful, which can’t be tapped in the aftermath, the rebuilding, or in retrospect. Because by then, you’ve had the breakthrough, the insight, the revelation that comes from making it to the other side. The antidepressant starts to do the trick, you pull the blinds back a little further, you take a shower and realize you still have enough energy to sit on the porch and watch the sun set. And all of life begins again. But the problem is we don’t live our lives in reverse. Keirkegaard wrote, “Life can only be understood backwards; but it must be lived forwards.”
In the in and through of going forward, sometimes it’s ok to stop and look around and say, This is where I am, and this is how I feel, and that is all I can manage right now. Another 320 seconds. I am thankful that to understand my life, the perspective I need most is not my own.
I think of how sparse the Psalms would be if David waited for the perfect ending to each of his pleas, his cries for mercy, his dark nights, his abject terror and despair, if he waited to cry out until he could get a better perspective on things.
Surely God would come through. Hadn’t God been faithful before?
I’ve seen God’s faithfulness in my own life as much as David’s. Why didn’t David just sit tight and quiet down until God revealed himself? I love the Psalms where God shows how He loves and ransoms His people, but I also love the ones written in the in and through of it all, long before the miracle comes. The ones that say, This is it, God. I’m finite, I’m empty or hurting or scared, and I cannot see Your presence here.
I feel as if God is saying, You don’t have to smile for me. You don’t have to pretend. And my smile gives way. I breathe it out, and my face goes lax and watery, but my soul begins to fill. Because to be loved hard in this place is the only thing that matters, and I know if I lived my life in reverse, that’s exactly what I’d see over and over — a God who loves and never leaves me.
Because I do believe. I will see again. And when we come out of darkness to glorious light, everything shines hard and beautiful, blinding with His glory. But this is a story from the dark, and it matters too.
It all speaks of Him. Every story points to a Redeemer. Every single one. Even the ones written in the in and through.
This is a story from the dark, and it matters too. // Beautiful words spoken from the darkness by @aliajoyH: Click To Tweet