I’ve written before about my seasonal depression issues hitting in the summertime, rather than the more common winter slump. It seems, though, that my soul didn’t get the message. Or, more likely, doesn’t care to operate on any sort of schedule that’s convenient for me. You see, as the days have gotten shorter, so it seems the light has dimmed in my spirit.
I’ve studied Christian Mysticism for a long time, and my Anglican upbringing was thorough in teaching of the “seasons of prayer.” While my soul hasn’t always followed Mother Nature’s calendar, this year they’re on the same menstrual cycle.
While it’s not always a depressing slump, I have noticed that from time to time, things generally slow down in my spirit life as the frigid air sweeps in and there’s more darkness than daylight. It’s not always a feeling of abandonment, but is often regarded by me as a hibernation of sorts. A rest period after a significantly active season of prayer, and/or a lull before what is to come. Sometimes it’s both.
However. However … this current fade is waltzing between these various categories. Yes there’s a hibernation aspect, as I’ve spent the last year with a partner new to faith, and we’ve prayed a lot and talked even more. It’s exhausting in a good way–like a workout. Yes there is probably a rest needed for things to come, as life continues on despite my intermittent protests. But, this time, there is that beaten down feeling. That dusty, sand in the mouth, scraped-knee, bleary-eyed “are you kidding me?” sort of rapport between me and God happening right now. One thing after another. One tiny, damn thing after another. One flea on your dog isn’t so bad. Two, you start getting concerned. Five, you know you’re in for it.
The fleas in my life (people, places, things) are causing me to scratch my skin raw. To be angry with God. There’s a place I haven’t visited for a while. Angry Town. And, this isn’t so much a loss of faith thing, like I might once have been quick to assume. I’m angry because I have faith. It hurts because I believe. I cry out because when you love someone, and crappy things happen in your relationship (psssst, God), it hurts. Deeply. You start looking for the things you’ve done wrong, the missteps you’ve made. Then, naturally, you look outward. Why are you doing this to me? Why.
The hitch here, is while human-human relationships can be a great model for God-Human relationships, they’re just not. So while, yes, it hurts when things aren’t going my way, I need to remember that I’m dealing with the one who created not only me, but everything I see. And, faith in Him means I have faith that there’s a point to all of this somewhere.
NO, I don’t have to like it, and, I might not. But, even if I have to grit my teeth while I do it, I’ll scroll over to Romans 8:28.
“I’m just getting tired of standing back up,” I said to my pastor in my kitchen yesterday morning.
With a look as obvious as I’ve ever seen, he simply replied, “So why don’t you stop standing back up and let God carry you for a while?”
I scrunched my nose and almost stuck my tongue out.
Because I don’t want to have the person who’s in charge of this hurt also carry me through it.
Only, that’s exactly how it works. Because I’m not dealing with a person. I’m dealing with a Creator. My Creator. I’m dealing with someone who I’m not dealing with at all. He’s dealing with me. And even if I have to dig my fingers raw or squint until I’m sure my mind is playing tricks on me, I’ll find the thing. The point. The lesson. Because I’ll never stop growing and learning.
Because even ghost towns have buildings that still stand. Structures made of stone and brick that remain long after their inhabitants have fled, waiting for new ones. New life. New landlords to spruce up the inside, and maybe plant a shrub or two on the outside. Even while my spirit feels depleted and abandoned, the foundation is still there. And a few walls even.
And it’s my job to trust that when life is poured into it again, it will be better than it was before. Brighter windows, shinier floors.
Those inhabitants of my pending spiritual revival will eventually leave in time, I’m sure. Once again designating my spirit a ghost town. But, I know from experience that the walls will remain standing, the foundation will stay untracked, and even if I have to wander those sepia streets alone for a while, I will. Because an abandoned building with decent bones is better than no building at all. And some light is better than no light.
Hope is better than hopelessness.
And, even in the hopelessness … even when I can’t lift my head to search for the tiny light … I have to choose to rest in the palm of the One who can lift my eyes for me.
I have to.
Photo Credit: arinas74