Lately I had been feeling clogged. By what, I didn’t actually know. I couldn’t place the malaise that tried to steal each day away. It didn’t help that people kept dying. Another one too young. Another, well-aged but no less painful. Even my friend’s triumphs in things we had both prayed about for her were dull evidence of my own hopelessness. Works out for you but not for me.
I can’t put my finger on where this came from in spite of all the tools and support surrounding me. I can only attribute it to the things I’d been lying about and refusing to say. It was that person I would not love because loving him with no evidence of reciprocation would be the most humiliating death. Silly maybe, but the mind and its pride have ways of sapping the logic from your thoughts.
It was the choices I refused to make. The risks I refused to take. The questions I was not going to ask. All that was packed in. It was my nature denied. Apparently love stuffed down becomes mind-altering poison. Who knew?
Then I realized that these denials and refusals were an excuse to do nothing and be miserable–a quiet, impotent emotional suicide. I’d made a pact with sorrow: You can live here as long as I don’t have to be responsible for anything. Sit on my chest and I’ll make do with raspy breaths as long as I can wallow uninterrupted.
The trick, though, is that somewhere I’d forgotten that I’d invited sorrow to live with me. Squatter-sorrow is never satisfied with just sitting on your chest. It wants all your life. It wants to be the only thing. I had let it in and I was drowning, barely able to move and unable to find the clog that let sorrow fill up to my neck.
As it reached my nose, I wondered whether I should bother fighting. I didn’t want to participate in this anymore. Might as well let it win. I thought of what A.R. Bernard always says: Suicide is a permanent solution for temporary problems. An emotional suicide–giving up all hope and resigning myself to being a pretty shell harboring a drowned spirit–may not be physical but can be just as final.
Ecclesiastes to the rescue…again
What stands in opposition to misery and defeat? FAITH:
To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven:
A time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up that which is planted;
A time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up;
A time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance;
A time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together; a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing;
A time to get, and a time to lose; a time to keep, and a time to cast away;
A time to rend, and a time to sew; a time to keep silence, and a time to speak;
A time to love, and a time to hate; a time of war, and a time of peace.
What profit hath he that worketh in that wherein he laboureth?
I have seen the travail, which God hath given to the sons of men to be exercised in it.
He hath made every thing beautiful in his time: also he hath set the world in their heart, so that no man can find out the work that God maketh from the beginning to the end. (Ecclesiastes 3:1-11)
With a simple sigh, I dipped my head deeper in the sorrow, reached for the plug and pulled. Sorrow, our agreement is done. Let’s see where faith leads me.