Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Tired of Life

Have you ever had a moment or a season in your life when you were just tired of being, tired of just going through the motions? Maybe for the first time you thought of the end and did not dread it? Perhaps this represented just a brief weakness or allowing negativity to root too deeply. Perhaps, though, it represented something more. Maybe several circumstances conspired to cause the stabilizing rocks in your foundation to crumble from under you. Maybe you suffered a long, slow decline of your health. Perhaps you struggled, unsuccessfully to find a sense of peace. Some thing failed, everything failed. You might even have started to despise who you were as a person.

In these moments, it takes great strength to go on living. It is physically painful to even get out of bed in the morning. As you take stock of your place and your surroundings, it seems to you that the effort to rebuild is just too great, too far beyond what you have left in your tank. You may even feel that at your station in life, you should have so much more than you do. A better job, more income, more friends, a secure and deep marriage. Left to brood in our swampy morass, the shadow of depression can swarm over you and hide the remaining blessings in your life.

One of my favorite books, Darkness Visible by William Styron, contains an apt description of this mindset. It states that if the curing wand that would make your life the paradigm of happiness and joy were sitting on a table right in front of you, you would not even have the strength or the will to reach out and claim it. What is even more sickening is that after a period of darkness in our lives, we start to believe that we are not even deserving of happiness and joy. We actively work to uproot and discard any seedlings of this sort that begin to spring up.

I have lived this moment, this season for a long time. It's funny the things that sometimes cause me to surface. A field of colorful flowers, a warm afternoon, a joke shared among friends, a hug, giving of my time, unexpectedly reaching out. The only advice I can give to the hurting and the lost, advice that I don't always take myself, is to fight it. Learn to forgive, learn to accept, learn to seek a positive spirit with an open heart and an open mind. Start small, dream big. Fight it.