Wednesday, May 20, 2009

yearning: in response

Some good friends have had some insightful thoughts about my previous post, but my thoughts are too extensive to post within the comments, so I will reflect upon them here.

I still stand in agreement with the quote, albeit taken out of its proper context, and with KP, who states, "some parts of our society are trying to vilify any mood state or behavior that is outside of 'normal' and 'happy'." We are taught, repetitively, that happiness is our ultimate goal in life, and anything short of that is both short-coming and short-sighted. I don't know a single person who would tell you his or her life is completely happy. Not a one. What is wrong with those people?

Nothing. Nothing is wrong with a one of us. Other than not measuring up to an unattainable goal. I do not believe, rightly or wrongly, that perpetual happiness is our intended state on this earth. Now, joy, perhaps. Peace, possibly. Contentment, I'm not so sure. But these are not qualities that are naturally occurring. They are fruit that is cultivated.

I'm not saying the opposite, either. I'm not saying that our sole purpose on this earth is merely to suffer. I don't buy that line of bull, either. I'm simply saying that I do believe, wholeheartedly, that we are living every moment in the tension between the now and the not yet. We were meant to live life one way, and we are living it another. That tension is uncomfortable at best, unbearable at its worst. But we don't want to be uncomfortable, not indefinitely, at any rate.

I know there is contextual and circumstantial depression. I know there is chemical depression. I know there is spiritual depression, strongholds and the like. I preach this message several times a week. I know full well that all of the above and more weave together in a delicate, intricate web that is not always easy to untangle. And I know that all strings leading to the center must be considered, not just one.

But I believe that, even as Christians, we are quick to ignore or even disdain this spiritual component. Why is that? I believe it is, in part, because we believe we can control the other parts, but the God part we know we cannot. And that frustrates us. Or, it frustrates me, at least. (And "frustrate" is a mild term, believe me.) I don't want to consider where God fits in to the picture, because there is no formula to follow or pill to take that guarantees an outcome. But, quite frankly, none of those things have provided an overwhelmingly beneficial, sustainable outcome, either, so where does that leave me, and others like me?

KP points to the year I've had, which I've moaned about repeatedly here, as just cause for feeling depressed. I agree. And I also agree wholeheartedly that better self-care and stewardship of my time and energy would certainly help the situation. But it doesn't explain the melancholia that has rested heavily upon my shoulders for as long as I can remember, not ever giving up its roost even in the face of medication, nutrition, exercise, strong relationships, and all the self-care I could possibly muster at various given points in my life.

The past year doesn't explain waking up nearly every morning, from the time I was a child through to the present, feeling as if I could cry for truly no good reason. It doesn't explain the ache in my heart when things end, when moments pass, when life slips through my fingers. It doesn't explain the persistent numbness in my spirit, the quickness to cry at certain things, the inability to cry at others. There is more to it than my overextended schedule. But you know this.

There is more to it than biochemistry. Than my blood sugar. Than not getting enough sleep. There is more to it than feeling occasionally distant from my husband, feeling inadequate as a parent, expecting too much of myself in nearly everything I do. There is more to it than what we want to naturally equate it to. Personally, I believe that this "more to it" has something to do with God. No Christianese bullshit about it.

So, I retract my ending statement from the last post, in which I question whether or not the depression I feel is just my heart longing for its true home. Is it just that? No. And that's not what I intended to imply. But is it part of the equation? Is it one of the strings entwined among the others? Is it something I must consider and move toward in order to move toward joy? I believe the answer is resoundingly yes.


from the royal fortress meadow said...

I'm sorry this is such a deep and long-running melancholy.

Obviously, this book stirred everything up. (Which is probably good). My intention, and probably that of the others, is to give you feedback about a line of reasoning that you are considering-- the quotes didn't give me a feeling that this book was really going to help you.

I sometimes use food to self-medicate/self-regulate (I am working to change that) but its not because I want more of God, its because I want to stop feeling a certain way, and I CAN within 10 minutes if I go into the kitchen. God wants to take time and go through the process of changing things and I'm only half-way ready. And some things relate to the will of someone else, so He wants me to endure-- I can endure more easily if the feelings aren't so sharp.

The seasons where I really longed for more of God, and the dissatisfaction I felt was a yearning for Him, I found so many ways to sneak in a minute with God. I really didn't watch TV because if I had 30 min. I wanted to go and dance and worship, because I had this longing.

These are some of the filters I use to make sense of what you are going through and how I think about what you post.

I don't know if that is helpful or not. But again, we love you.

lorie said...

Very helpful, and not too far off from what I'm thinking, really. I'll continue to chew on it and write more as I can. At any rate, I appreciate the feedback and the opportunity to process these things.

Cindy said...