I don’t think I’ve gone a week without posting since I started this blog.
This week I’ve felt tired. Exhausted. As I’ve commented to several folks, I’ve been running out of me before I run out of day. I have a couple of good ideas of things I want to write about – that aren’t about depression – and I can’t find the energy to give birth to them. This has been one of the few times in dealing with my depression that sleep has not offered some respite. I’m sleeping restlessly and not sleeping long enough. I’m not sure there is a long enough.
Besides being physically exhausted, I’m tired of being depressed. I’m tried of writing about depression. I can only imagine many are tired of reading about it. (Actually, I know some are because they have found kind ways to let me know.) I understand. It’s not that my days are all bad, in fact, the opposite is true. I’ve had some great times this week. Dear friends have been to see us; work is good. But somewhere late in the day, I feel like the cartoon character that runs off the cliff before he realizes there is no longer any ground beneath him and then he goes into free fall, except I just start falling asleep. I have nothing left.
Ginger pushed hard to get me to write tonight because she knows the defeat I feel when I stare at a blank page for an hour or so and then close the computer without making a mark. Something about having found a couple of hundred words tonight does help and I hate that all I seem to have to say is, “I’m depressed.” There’s more to me. There’s more to life. I can see it. I just can’t write it somehow.
Somewhere in the course of my day – I think it was reading something about Zimbabwe – I wondered out loud to myself, “I’m not sure God is in the business of relieving pain. Making meaning out of it, yes. But taking it away is not necessarily part of the deal.” Many years ago, I heard (or read) Mike Yaconelli talk about a sermon he preached on suffering and God. He said he closed the sermon by reading a passage from John Claypool’s Tracks of a Fellow Struggler in which Claypool describes his eleven-year-old daughter, whose body was wracked with cancer, crying out to her dad to ask God to take away the pain. He said he prayed as earnestly as he knew how. When he finished, his daughter asked why God hadn’t taken the pain away. Yaconelli said he looked up from the book and said, “That is the God we are called to serve. Amen.”
God is not going to take away my pain. I don’t expect my days will always be this dark and exhausting, or Ginger’s so difficult as she stays with me. I have hope that I will find some treatment that will help me manage my depression more effectively, and I don’t think it is going to disappear because I keep telling God I’m tired of this. Therefore, I have to decide what it means for my life that I live with depression. I have to decide whether my faith or my illness gets the last word. I have to decide to trust those who say they love me mean they love me even if all I can write about is my depression. I have to decide I’m going to fight with all I have to offer Ginger more than the dregs of my existence. I have to decide to accept that living life means playing hurt.
And I have to decide everyday, over and over.
The counter at the bottom of the page says I’ve written 632 words: this is me deciding.