Monday, January 30, 2006

alive

It has become my mantra—two words repeated over and over. The bridge to a worship song, sung with passion and conviction by a voice not unlike my own. Simple in its sentiment, perhaps even confusing to some as to its power, yet to me, it has become everything—

I’m alive, I’m alive, I’m alive, I’m alive.

I remember the first time I made this profession. Our women’s conference had been largely unremarkable to me so far, when out of nowhere, Rita Springer’s deep, throaty passion suddenly began to give voice to my own. Articulating what my own mind had been unable to put into words, the modest lyric affirmed the changes I felt in my spirit—changes that had been a very long time in coming. I stood, arms flung wide as if suddenly free from my inhibitions as well, and I proclaimed life for the first time in over a decade.

Of all the things those years of depression stole from me, losing my passion for life was the hardest to bear. My friend Karen put it best when she described me as a romantic in the truest sense—life, to me, should be like stepping out of the black and white of Kansas into the technocolor of Oz for the first time, every time. Awe and wonder await you around every corner, and the food is meant to be tasted and the wine to be drunk and the flowers to be smelled and the paths through the meadows to be taken. Life is meant to be lived—painted in vibrant hues with large, bold brush strokes upon an endless supply of blank canvases.

As depression took over my life, however, all color faded to rinse-water gray. Passion was lost—swept away in some cyclone that merely ended up in another bleak part of black-and-white Kansas. Life was no longer to be embraced, but tolerated and gotten through, like a long, gray, dreary March in central Ohio. Ten years of no-longer-winter-but-still-not-quite-spring. It was a fate, as some say, worse than death.

Thankfully, over the last several years, the color has mercifully returned—bleeding through the black and white and saturating my soul—restoring richness and detail to the pictures of my life. All that was dead inside me—hope, passion, emotion, conviction, joy—suddenly poked up through the gray landscape like brightly hued crocuses and daffodils, not dead after all, but buried until the warmth of the sun returned to coax them to press up through and join it. Welcome back to Oz, they tell me—we’re not in Kansas anymore, Toto.

Only one who has walked among the living dead can understand the power contained in this simple affirmation of life. It catches me off guard, these days, as my CD changer cycles through six sets of worship music, returning every few days to this phrase that still brings tears to my eyes. Just as amazing grace transformed one who was lost into one who was found, it has transformed me from one who was dead into one who is alive. I turn it up and I sing it loud—defying depression, defying death, defying colorless living. I will not go back to black and white. I am living life bright red and royal blue.

This is my story, this is my song: I’m alive, I’m alive, I’m alive, I’m alive.

10 comments:

Beth said...

Lorie,

What a beautiful entry. And boy do I know the darkness. I can't say that the colors I see are vibrant right now, more like some pastels breaking through the gray heavy clouds. But hey, any color is better than none.

I love the unrestrained joy in this piece. Truly, this is how God created you to live life to the full.

Imagine the colors in heaven!

Thanks for sharing this. It gives me more hope.

Beth

Julie Morrison said...

Lori thanks for sharing this. Although I think winter is the bluest time of year for me, since being set free in Jesus I don't have those rinsewater-grey (now THAT is a depressing grey!)days/weeks/monthsthat have cursed the women in our family. Funny, though that this resurrection theme keeps re-emerging. I tried to remember exactly why I stopped illustrating(it's been years). The rooting out of those memories has proven to be somewhat cathartic. Maybe I'll blog it soon.

Maria said...

Thanks for this post. It is inspiring. I have been having a hard time myself.
On a lighter note, where can I send my entry for the Carnival of the Mundane?

Maria said...

OK, I figured it out. Thanks.

amy said...

How did you get out of the rinsewater gray?? And how do you stay out?

lorie said...

Thanks, Beth--I was afraid to post it for fear some wouldn't "get it." Glad it has given some people some hope. Also glad to hear there are at least some pastels on the horizon!

Julie--I'll be looking for that post! Tell me more about the resurrection them you keep seeing lately...

Glad you got the carnival thing worked out, Maria. I hope your hard time does not last long.

And Amy--part of getting out of the rinsewater-gray was getting out of a situation (as in literally moving away) that was killing my spirit. The other part, sorry to say, was plain, old-fashioned renewal of the mind. There was some other stuff, of course--like reconnecting with my creativity and losing weight. But those are the main ingredients. I'd love to chat about it sometime...

danthress said...

... part of getting out of the rinsewater-gray was getting out of a situation (as in literally moving away) that was killing my spirit. The other part, sorry to say, was plain, old-fashioned renewal of the mind. There was some other stuff, of course--like reconnecting with my creativity and losing weight. But those are the main ingredients.

Lorie, I love that you have defined these things. I truely believe, with God's help, these things are possible. The phrase, "renewal of the mind" really resonates with me. I think of it as "getting healthy." Moving away from things that are killing your spirit, yeah, I call that "trying to stop sinning" in unobvious ways, ie: the sin of comparing, the sin of drama, the sin of just not thinking the best of someone.

Yeah, I dig this post. Here's too living healthy.

lorie said...

Yeah, I hear ya, Dan. The sin of self-pity and the sin of entitlement were huge for me. Now others lurk large on the horizon. But we'll continue to work on slaying these giants, eh?

Sam said...

I know I'm really late on reading this. But I must say I'm very impressed by your writing. It's very soft and commanding at the same time. I wonder how I'll ever be a good writer reading stuff like yours.
Keep up the wonderful writing and the pouring out of your emotions.

lorie said...

Hey Sam! Would it help to know that I feel the same way when I read other people's stuff? The secret is to learn how to read for inspiration, not comparison. You have nothing to apologize for in your writing--trust the gift and the source of it, girl!