I have come to the conclusion that I fire on six cylinders.
The issue is that I am an eight cylinder man.
I can’t remember the last time I was firing on all of them.
They aren’t knocking yet, but it’s just a matter of time. There’s a lot of miles, hard ones, on the odometer.
It’s a wonder six are still firing. It makes it rather miraculous that I can make it through the day, let alone accomplish anything.
It seems I am pulling off on the side of the road to doze more often now. My mind knows where to go. I am just so tired and it takes so much fuel to figure out how to get there.
Others race by. Their exhaust exhausts me. Death is the end to this race. Why try to get there quicker?
Elegiac grips me until my mind spins.
Lethargy holds me down.
I am captured between the two, racing, yet going nowhere.
I am a six cylinder body with an eight cylinder mind.
Come close and you will catch the faint scent of burnt oil.
The gift of depression is compassion. I look in the mirror everyday and know that I am broken.
Elegiac tells me that I should stay there, captured by this narcissistic reflection.
Yet to do so is to miss the truth that I see through a glass dimly, that “now I only see in part, then I will see in full.”
And that often my reflection as seen through the lens of depression is not how God sees me.
Knowing that I am broken can incapacitate me.
Or it can serve as the humble catalyst for me to show grace and mercy, compassion and gentleness, and above all, patience, to others.
Tonight, I will serve a meal to women whose lives have been upended in ways that leave me breathless. They are broken like me. Yet they are strong, so strong.
They are always gracious, kind, and encouraging and I always leave feeling like I have received more than I have given.
And for the briefest of moments, I do not feel the weight of Elegiac and Lethargy, my everpresent twins, upon my shoulders.
(From February 24, 2016)
It was not too long ago when I stood on the precipice and caught a glimpse of the pit far below.
What I saw was me, yet it was a me distorted by a mind sick with depression. As that vision threatened to reach up and cast me down, I stepped back from the brink into the healing embrace of medication, a renewed sense of God’s love and the care of God’s people, and to a deeper commitment to prayerful writing.
The discipline of daily contemplative reflections from my interactions with the world around me has become a life line for me.
This place where we reside is not without its sadness. But such does not need to discount the inevitable joys. Depression skews the view towards the melancholy.
I am broken. So are you. That acknowledgement does not preclude our healing. We do ourselves and others a disservice when we are less than honest with our pain. But that is not the end of the story.
There is healing. Or at least a coming to terms with our existence. Joy indeed comes in the morning. And that morning comes with each new day we are privileged to see another sunrise.
So I continue in this daily discipline of prayer/writing. Each morning, I turn my face to the east and await the healing words that come with the sun.
After calling my destination, I was surprised to learn that there the sun was out and the skies were blue.
My morning and subsequent drive has been filled with gray skies and rain, remnants of a dying hurricane. Suddenly, an hour into my trip, the rains end. The dark clouds turn white with blue skies showing through. It is as if a weight lifts from my shoulders. The stress of these past several weeks seems to fall behind me on the road like the carcass of some dead creature.
I have not written in a while I know, struggling with what to say and how to say it. Some things are better left unsaid far from a public forum. I have never understood those who place their pain and suffering out for all the world to see. It is a twist on the neverending narcissism of these times.
Yet I must continue to find a way to write, to pray, for those two are synonymous for me. I am most able to make sense of the world through the words that enter and flow forth from my heart, whether it is hurting or filled with joy.
So as the storm ends and the clouds change their hue, I find that I am released again to listen and share this eternal inner conversation.
Thank you, dear reader, for your patience and presence amongst these words, said or not.
I walked through the warehouse
pieces of a border in my hand
seeking matches in the scattering of wood along the walls
this was not the first time I had been here to try to find a few more feet to finish a project
but though I looked through the offerings again and again
hoping that behind the next piece would be the one that I needed
I did not find it
I did not leave empty-handed
in one hand I had my tape measure and
in the other the two pieces of border I brought with me
yet I knew that I would not return and that my search was hopeless
I would need to try to find another place to match the border
or I would need to simply start over
I have been searching for awhile and
the project has languished
unfinished like so many parts of my life
when does one continue to seek the parts necessary for the completion of a project or simply choose to tear the whole thing out and start over again?
I am of course speaking of something deeper than simply finishing the border around the ceiling of a living room
sometimes I wonder if the project that is me simply needs to be completely redone
then I realize with gratefulness
that is not the way of the Divine
I am the sum of all of who I have been
I am incomplete
unfinished with a mishmash of parts and pieces
that don’t always match
yet God chooses to use every part of me that I make available
broken ugly beautiful
this reconstruction of my soul is a wondrous and strange thing and I am impatient at times with the work that is going on in me
I am not wise enough to see the final product or how I am going to be used tomorrow
I simply want to know
I want to be done
but this is about trust and giving my life over every day
to the Master Carpenter
but not without some pain
works on my renovation
oh the stuff i collect
like a storm washed beach
refuse from the everyday
until i am so weighed down
i do not realize that i
am or that i don’t need to be
reflection like the rising
sun above the waters
brings these pieces to light and i can begin to
let them go
the gentle waves will clear my broken shores
if i but open my heart
the palms carress the sky
the shadows begin their rise
in the distance
a ship vanishes into the
light of the morning
Some days are days of broken things.
Like this glass I tumble, more fragile than I thought, and I must spend some of my precious time cleaning up the shards so that my loved ones are not pricked.
Though I carry the scars from a thousand other cuts.
And my efforts cannot keep my loved ones from being nicked by life.
Even the rain feels like tiny needles against my face.
I can dodge the pain.
And yet, there is no way to avoid the wet.
I rescued the chair from outside someone’s apartment with the hope of fixing it and having it become a welcome member of our family.
But as often happens it sat around in various places waiting for me to find the time to repair it.
Finally I decided that it was one more project that I did not have time for and so yesterday I put it out on the sidewalk in the hopes that someone would take it home.
It sat out there all through yesterday in the rain and the sun, lonely, awaiting a new friend. A few people paused to look but then drove away. Periodically I would look out my window to see it still sitting forlornly there.
Then this morning I noticed an older gentleman walking past who began to inspect the chair. He picked it up, put it on his back and walked away.
It is a beautiful chair. It just needs to be repaired and I am sure its new owner will do just that.
I don’t know about you but I feel a lot like that broken chair, waiting for the gentle hands of someone to put me back together again.
I wait, broken, with the hope that those hands will touch me, I will be healed, and I can have a purpose again.
When the earth shakes
and the rubble of buildings hides the dying in its wake,
will our walls break?
Will the tremors make us a people who seek to soothe the heartache?
Will we finally awake
to the realization that we are one body and cannot forsake
our duty to remake
a world cracked and broken by injustice, hate,