I want to scream, I want to dream, yet the extreme of this life has taken me further down a path I did not view or seem as one in which I would ever, if even I tried, to be ready for. Why? I don’t know. I know nothing, yet I know lots. It is odd. How can I sit and plan, yet really, what is it I am planning for? I laugh. Yet I cry. I do both. Is this a normalcy? Perhaps. This is my new normal. One in which I have to embrace. There is no running from it. I have to go through it. I thought before the wilderness was a beast, but this new endeavour is beast part two. If only the soundtrack to my life could be as beautiful as that of Beauty and the Beast, but in this moment, who is the beauty and whom is the beast? There is no difference, for I am both. Both beauty and beast, wrestling through the pages of this chapter I find myself aligned with, but not by choice. I did not choose this, nor would I ever have. This was brought on only by the realms of this broken earth and I alone stand alone in hopes alone for an understanding that only Christ alone will be able to express to me in a way that I alone will fully get. My crashing point? Perhaps. However, I continue to crawl through this thick mud like it is a clarity, and at this beautiful moment, I can not even kid myself.
Image Credit: Jean Francois Millet: Death and the Woodcutter
I close my eyes and the instant spiral of despair grasps me close. These arms are familiar. This chest I rest my head and burrow myself into is an old acquaintance, one who I knew well. Depression has no face, it only has a body that carries and holds close, tightly, so tight there is little room for breath. Is this the road I really want to go down again? My mind is exhausted and my heart is bothered. I can’t watch the slow motion picture before me. It is gruesome, haunting, and dark. I reach my hands up and I scream, to be held back by sincere spectators, but there is no time, the destroyer is destroying. We were told this would happen, but I can’t sit still and accept. I can’t stand tall to conform, to compromise, or to even obey if it goes completely against everything I believe or know to be true. For now, I hide inside this blue hurricane’s tempest and cover my eyes in this familiar shadow’s pain, until my Rescuer does only what He can do.
Image Credit: Goose Girl at Gruchy, by Jean-Francois Millet
I step from the warmth of the vehicle into the dampness of this winter’s day, recognizing this cruel morning, bitter sunshine, and tempered frost as a reflection of my weathered heart. A new phase have I entered into in my 34th year? A new dimension, dynamic, or decision? I feel trouble. I feel hurt. I feel concern. I stare at my faded reflection in the tinted glass doors. I face seriousness staring me coldly in the eye with limited emotion. Am I changing? Evolving? Perhaps I am dissolving into an irreversible torrent of a tempered mess. Is there any room inside of me for more weightiness? Do I have the strength to carry it? Do I really want it? What I want is to shout at my stoic face, scream at my peeling heart, and stomp on my fading frame. Wake up! The sirens in my head have sounded the alarms; they have revealed the danger, a slipping back, a small defeat, but an easy friend. The trouble, the hurt, and the concern have anchored me down before in their sorrowful waters. They once had me to be found reliably in their distant memory, a grave forest, a place I was forced to call my home. I can’t go back. I break the reflection staring back at me in the tinted door windows with the rocks and pebbles of all shapes and colors I can manage to clumsily collect in urgency. Is it finished? Not quite, for the broken pieces of glass shards remain faithful to me, embracing, and not letting go. There must be relief for me somewhere. There has to be.
Image Credit:Jean Francois Millet: Shepherdess seated in the forest
As I drive through the somber streets within my mind, I am reminded of the 11th week. The October air was crisp and cool. Breathing the air was as strict as wintergreen, blasting into my lungs. I enjoyed this, though. Running was my favorite. Air forced into the vulnerable air pockets that encouraged me to keep going, keep breathing and keep living. I wasn’t running today, but sharing this hour with three of my favorite people. Once a month we celebrated our love with a breaking of bread, a pouring of wine, and a moment of stillness. It was communion with each other. It was communion with our Maker. We decided, linked in arms, to head to the pier and lay our backs to the water with our faces towards the sky. It was almost 11 pm. It was the 11th hour, an hour before the break of a new day. It was the moment the stars became ours as we named them.
Mysteries, confusions, and fantasies would stir as we tried to envision what our lives would be, where life would take us, and how we would turn out. A mother, victim to mental illness, a mother hard to read, a mother on a mission, and a mother not allowing the unfailing distance to interfere with her deep longings.
Were we just walking the paths engraved or more so welcomed by our own mothers? Were we to follow in their footsteps? Was that our fate? Were their lives the blueprint for our very own? We just didn’t know, but what we did know, it was getting colder and there was more wine to drink. Sometimes to not think was a blessing, but for some of us, it was the daily challenge we faced and continued to face.
As the candle gave warmth and glow, an invitation for us to speak candidly and openly, we did. Crossing lines only bosom buddies, kindred spirits do, we joined our hearts together and acknowledged life as a philosophical debate in which no one has an answer for; only an opinion, something we unsurprisingly are all unrestricted to.
I imagined as I grew up, well, like in my thirties, I would have the brain of a 30 year old. However, as I converse with others, I realize our brain can sometimes remain stopped at a certain age. It just stands still and observes the process of aging from afar. It is as though mine has dissociated from reality; the reality of age. My brain says it is 28. The funny thing is, it has been saying this for the last 6 years. My eyes tell a different story, though. They have not stopped. They continue to go from right to left, up and down, checking out people here and there, reading, watching, imagining, and visualizing. They have pressed through the inconceivable and have seen the births of the impossible. My eyes have witnessed the unspoken, and have seen the cries from relationship disparity. Even when there was nothing to be seen, my eyes could see their wailing screams. They refuse to ignore and stand in denial. They have seen truth and can’t go back. Sometimes it is a war inside. My eyes reveal what is real, yet my brain tries to justify, downplay, pretend, generalize, and even at times, tries to shut herself off to the outside world. It is pain. She just can’t handle the pain. She can’t handle the disbelief. It hurts too much. Perhaps this is why my eyes are in relationship with my heart. They have an understanding, a commonality. They aren’t afraid or influenced by thought. Ideas, doubts, or the need to try to figure things out. These don’t intimidate what my eyes can see and what my heart can understand.