I’m still trying to tell stories on Tuesdays, so in January I told a few stories about Walking Towards The Unexpected.
For the month of February I am writing about Walking in the Dark.
Because I was trying to choose a happier theme. (sarcasm)
Actually, if I didn’t feel light in my heart today, I probably could not have shared these words about being in the dark. Funny how that works, isn’t it?
A Story about Depression
Sometime in January I typed out a text message to my friend Sarabeth about how much I was dancing on the edge of depression. I told her that I was trying to stay “flipped up” and explained that I felt like a floatation device that is either sun side up or flipped over, face down and drowning. I actually typed the word struggling like this: “I am struuuuuuuugling.”
Then I considered deleting the whole message. Then I sent it but also told her that I had thought about deleting it.
She wrote back these words.
“Never delete to me.”
I hope you have experienced how seriously wonderful it is to have friends who say things like that to you.
Of course, by saying those words, she sort of opened the floodgates on hearing about very much on the edge I truly was, but she can take it. And she was reminding me that she can take it.
What is healing about an exchange such as this is that I gained the benefit of typing out all (most) of the darkness in my head and getting it outside of myself in some small way.
Which shines light, even the small twinkling light of a cell phone, into the dark.
And light is what it takes to dispel darkness.
The truth about why I spend my days chasing the light is that it is the only way to keep from drowning in the the dark.
To look for the light is why I get up in the morning. It’s why I flip open my Bible again. It’s why I go for walks. It’s why I read. Everything I do I do to bring light to the dark. Not just any dark. My dark.
Sometimes I think I have you fooled. That my life is all sunshine and rainbows. But the truth is that I am always chasing sunshine and rainbows because that is the story I want to choose. The other one, where I wallow in self-doubt and am utterly broken by my failures, is not where I want to set up shop.
But sometimes, I have to tell someone that “I am struuuuuugling.” Usually I tell Taido. And he’s not really that surprised. He is sorry. Yes, he heard me say that last week too. But he is not sure what to do.
That is where girlfriends are all grace. They do not take the place of husbands but they are different.
I would be remiss if I did not also point out that in the absence of (and sometimes in addition to) a girlfriend, a good therapist does wonders.
And here is the grace of typing out the ugly words about how I feel like I am drowning. Feelings put to words can come back to you.
A couple of days later, I was reading a little book I read every morning, a book that is written to be the words of Jesus into your day. And here were the words of Jesus to me that day,
My face is shining upon you, beaming out peace that transcends understanding. You are surrounded by a sea of problems, but you are face to face with Me, your Peace. As long as you focus on Me, you are safe. If you gaze too long at the myriad problems around you, you will sink under the weight of your burdens. When you start to sink, simply call out “Help me, Jesus!” and I will lift you up.
The closer you live to Me, the safer you are. Circumstances around you are undulating, and there are treacherous-looking waves in the distance. Fix your eyes on me, the One who never changes. By the time those waves reach you, they will have shrunk to proportions of My design. I am always beside you, helping you face today’s waves.
Hello bold references to seas and waves and drowning.
Um, who told Jesus that I was drowning?
Oh that’s right, I did. When I told my friend who was being the very face of Christ to me at that moment. Via text message.
Does this mean that I can give up the fight of trying to stay “flipped up” or that I don’t have to chase the light so hard anymore?
But at least for a little while, when I am sinking I will remember that Jesus gave me the very words to say.
A simple script for drowning.
“Help me, Jesus!”