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.
I read often but rarely comment. Your words are important to me. They have been for a long time. Thank you for your 632 words.
Bless you, Milton. (P.S. Keep writing about whatever you need to write about; I promise to keep reading.)
632 words of yourself are 632 words of great value. Depression is a harsh teacher with unseen lessons.
With an out of town wedding Saturday and a 4 hour drive home, I didn’t get to hear a sermon yesterday, but your post will sustain and nourish me.
Thank you for deciding to write through the pain.
Your writing always inspires me and I check your blog everyday for new words.
You are always worth reading, Milton. No matter what the subject.
Thanks, Milton. I’m going through a similar time myself. As you well know. sometimes that comes out as grouchiness on my blog. You handle it way better, and I appreciate that.
Your observation about God not taking away pain is helpful. Thanks.
I guess I’m also trying to play hurt.
“I have to decide to accept that living life means playing hurt.”
Thank you, Milton. These are helpful words for everyone, especially in these days of the modern pro sports athlete.
632 words. sounds like a song title…
Thanks, Milton. I needed the reminder that it’s OK– even necessary– to play hurt.
I think one of the tricks of depression is that it blinds us to our own beauty. You are so much more than your depression. Thanks for fighting for the courage to write. Your posts are like lamps being turned on at dusk. Even if you don’t feel how infused they are with love and light, we do.
Whatever you have to say, I look forward to reading it. I have prayed for you this week whenever I saw that there was no new post.
About three decades ago I saw Oral Roberts, of all people, and he preached a sermon I still remember about the passage in Acts in which Paul escapes by being lowered over the wall in a basket. Roberts’ theme was, who has held the rope for you, and who are you holding a rope for? I hope that it does help to know that many people whom you have never met face to face (and many whom you have met, too) are holding the rope.
Hang in there, brother.
And I hope that you’re given 632 facets of meaning for this particular pain.
Being with you this weekend filled my heart and reminded me how much you shaped me into the person I am. Through your love and inspiration, I make a difference. I pray if I can’t be more like Jesus, I can start with being more like you. It may sound trite, but it’s the truth. Your sweet spirit and loving way lift me up, even when you’re down. You are in such a good place and still blessing others through your service and love. You continue to teach others how to love. Hang in there and know that you are loved for all of who you are.
Ditto what everyone else said. I am blessed everytime I read your words…no matter what the topic. God uses you EVERYTIME you write.
Love and blessings-
Thank you for your words.
I suppose I do believe that the Lord “heals the brokenhearted, and binds up their wounds.” But I suppose that takes different forms…
Praying for you: for healing, for meaning-making, rejoicing for the words, allowing for the silences.
I’m glad for your words, Milt, whatever they are.
some may not want to read your story of depression. there are probably sunshine and rainbow blogs out there for them.
this is your blog – please write what you know. it connects with me milton – and i know many others are blesses by your transparency – real is always way better than nothing.
i have missed your words.
Leading our Zimbabwe vigil last week I was struggling with how to pray authentically. In the end I just played U2’s 40. Seems to me there are just some times when our best response is to lament “How long must we sing this song” God knows.
Thanks for this post.
Milton… this doesn’t have to do with your post really exactly, but now that I think of it, it seems as good a place as any to put it.
I just read this in a blog of a man I very much admire and it reminded me of you and of Ginger, even tho I only know you both from what you write. I thought it might bring a smile.