I don’t feel invincible. I don’t feel like a young immortal, for I have walked through the valley of the shadow of death, I have drank from the cup of bitter darkness. I have loved and lost, and I live still. I am not afraid of my own death, though I wouldn’t call myself ready. I want to hear “Well done good and faithful servant.”, but truly I will never deserve those words. I’m told it’s unusual for one of my age to be so well acquainted with the end. Talking with a coworker: “I mean, my Grandma died, but nobody, like, my age.” I’m told it’s unusual, but some days I’m not so sure. The people around me don’t mostly seem to have lived otherwise…He lost his little sister to Heroin while high school aged, he lost his to cancer, her best friend died in sixth grade, he lost a fellow soldier, she lost her baby, the life inside of her, he lost his older brother to suicide, he lost his mom. Maybe it is good to come to know harsh reality young. The people who have are different, deeper. Though I don’t know if the depth is worth the blackness that crawls into the souls of some. For myself, I’ve always held that I would rather know truth than ignorant bliss no matter what the cost.
Death isn’t the worst. “Let the dead bury their own dead.” What is worst is those in the living death of depression. I hate depression. I hate the attacks of the evil one, and I hate the empty look it brings to the eyes of those I love. I hate that I cannot rescue them. I hate that depression is something that has to be slogged through, in many ways alone, over months and years. It is imperfection, a flaw in the world caused by sin, as with all the other flaws. They say it’s a “chemical imbalance”, which is all fine and good, but few want their brains to be tampered with. Happy pills may work, but they aren’t always the answer. Maybe it is because I push deeper, because I want to be more than shallow and surface that I see it so much.
There’s a darkness too deep to be healed in a heartbeat, there’s a lostness that I can’t rescue people from. God. Only God can. Yet he seems so silent. There’s a truth deeper than devotional books and three point sermons…sometimes I hear it in the hymns. Depression isolates, it blinds, but really everyone is going through the same things at one level or another. It’s scary, I listen to the people, I talk to a lot of people, and the same lines echo over and over again. “The world would be better off without me.” “I don’t make promises I cannot keep.” “I don’t think I can win this fight.” “I am worthless.” Bandaid fixes don’t work. Rich Mullins said he was told “God loves you man,” in his dark days, and his response was one I’ve heard repeatedly too. “Big deal. God loves everybody…that just proves He ain’t got no taste.” What words are you supposed to use to refute that?
Sometimes there are no words. We are ashes to ashes, dust to dust, and so much– so complex and yet so simple–in the in between. I won’t apologize for writing about death so much lately. I know it makes some people uncomfortable, but it is important to speak on. Maybe soon I will talk about life or some such thing to add variety, but for today I’ve rambled on long enough, so I’ll end, quoting Rich Mullins once more.
“I can hear the wild wind howling, and I can feel it in my bones.
And I know that the howling will take me Home.”